Sakshi Malik

I Quit Wrestling: Sakshi Malik

Sakshi Malik

Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik, who was a face of wrestlers’ protest against former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations, on Thursday announced that she is quitting wrestling after his aide Sanjay Singh was elected president of the federation.

Sakshi Malik, distraught and emotional, broke down as she left the venue after addressing a press conference in the national capital.

She put her shoes on the table at the press conference as she announced her decision to quit wrestling.

“We slept for 40 days on the roads and a lot of people from several parts of the country came to support us. If Brij Bhushan Singh’s business partner and a close aide is elected as the president of WFI, I quit wrestling,” she said, accompanied by some other wrestlers who were part of the protest.

“We have made demands for a woman president. If the president would be a woman, harassment would not happen. But, there was no participation of women earlier and today you can see the list, not even a single woman was given a position. We had fought with complete strength but this fight will continue. The wrestlers of the new generation have to fight,” she said.

Vinesh Phogat, World Championships and Asian Games medallist, also expressed her deep disappointment and said that the future of wrestling is dark and grapplers are still fighting.

“There are minimal expectations but we hope that we get justice. It’s saddening that the future of wrestling is in the dark. To whom shall we convey our grief?… We are still fighting while we are training,” she said.

Sanjay Singh was on Thursday elected as the new president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

The Wrestling Federation of India elections were held on Thursday after several postponements earlier in the year.

A panel led by Sanjay Singh won the WFI election. The other panel got seven votes.

“National Camps (for wrestling) will be organised. Wrestlers who want to do politics can do politics, those who want to do wrestling will do wrestling,” Singh told the reporters.

Sanjay Singh served on the WFI’s previous executive council. Since 2019, he has also served as the national federation’s joint secretary.

The WFI elections were originally slated to be held on August 12. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while holding a hearing on a petition in August, extended the stay on the WFI elections till September 25. Elections to the federation, which oversees wrestling in the country, were initially planned for June this year.

Earlier this month, Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik met Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur at his residence in the national capital for discussions on the WFI polls.

Sakshi’s husband, Satyawart Kadian, a wrestler himself, was also among those who called on the minister. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the wrestlers said they were assured that the government would keep its promise that no one related or close to Brij Bhushan would get a post in the WFI. (ANI)

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