Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Comes In Support Of Wrestlers’ Protest

Neeraj Chopra

Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra on Friday came in support of the ongoing wrestlers’ protest, and said that he was ‘hurt’ to see athletes on the streets demanding justice.

“It hurts me to see our athletes on the streets demanding justice. They have worked hard to represent our great nation and make us proud,” Tokyo Olympics gold medallist said in a tweet on Friday.
He said,” As a nation, we are responsible for safeguarding the integrity and dignity of every individual, athlete or not.”

“What’s happening should never happen. This is a sensitive issue, and must be dealt with in an impartial and transparent manner. Pertaining authorities must take quick action order to ensure that justice is served,” Chopra added.

Indian wrestlers have been protesting at Jantar Mantar here in the national capital against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment.

Top Indian grapplers such as Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and many other wrestlers are involved in the protest against the WFI chief.

Having waited for three months, star wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia again started their protest against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Sunday and said that they took the step after alleging that no action has been taken in the matter and said that the FIR has not been registered against the WFI chief.

Ace India wrestler Sakshi Malik broke down while interacting with the media as wrestlers protest at Jantar Mantar.

“We wanted to file a sexual harassment FIR against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. We got a complaint filed two days ago but FIR has not been registered yet. There are seven female wrestlers and one of them is a minor. We want the investigation to happen fast. It is a sensitive matter. We are being framed as liars which we cannot bear. We are waiting for two and a half months now but no one is listening. People are saying we are spent force that is why we are protesting. We just won a medal at CWG 2022,” Sakshi Malik told the media at Jantar Mantar.

“It is being heard that we are finished, that is why we are protesting. For two and a half months the government has not taken any action. We cannot reveal the name of a minor. Otherwise, her name and career will get spoilt,” she added.

Earlier in January this year, top Indian wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Ravi Dahiya and Sakshi Malik, held a sit-in protest in Jantar Mantar, demanding that Brij Bhushan be removed from the head office and Wrestling Federation of India be disbanded.

They had accused the body and its chief of sexual harassment and mistreatment of wrestlers.

Following the protest, in January, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the formation of an ‘oversight committee’ to probe allegations levelled against the Wrestling Federation of India and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches.

The committee was given the task of submitting a report on the issue to the Ministry.

Earlier, India’s first individual Olympic gold medal-winning shooter and member of the Olympics Athletes Commission, Abhinav Bindra expressed support for Indian wrestlers who are protesting at Jantar Mantar in the national capital against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over allegations of sexual harassment.

Abhinav Bindra supported the wrestlers in their protest with a poignant tweet on Wednesday.

“As athletes, we train hard every day to represent our country on the international stage. It is deeply concerning to see our athletes finding it necessary to protest on the streets regarding the allegations of harassment in the Indian wrestling administration,” Bindra tweeted.

“My heart goes out to all those who have been affected. We must ensure that this issue is handled properly, with the athletes’ concerns heard and addressed fairly and independently. This incident highlights the crucial need for a proper safeguarding mechanism that can prevent harassment and ensure justice for those affected. We must work towards creating a safe and secure environment for all athletes to thrive in,” he added. (ANI)

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