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Business News/ News / India/  After criticism, IOA President PT Usha meets protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar, assures support
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After criticism, IOA President PT Usha meets protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar, assures support

Wrestlers' protest: While speaking to media, Bajrang Punia said that she is standing with us and will get us justice. She said that she will look into our issue and resolve it as early as possible.

Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha reached Delhi's Jantar Mantar where wrestlers are protesting since 11 days.Premium
Indian Olympic Association president PT Usha reached Delhi's Jantar Mantar where wrestlers are protesting since 11 days.

After facing criticism from all quarters for being insensitive towards the protesting wrestlers, IOA President PT Usha visited the protesting site at Jantar Mantar Delhi who have been staging a protest since the last 11 days against WFI chief WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Singh has been accused of sexual harassment. PT Usha met the wrestlers and has also assured support to their cause. After meeting them, she did not address the media, however, Bajrang Punia said that she has assured them help.

"She (Usha) said that I am with you and I will help you get justice," Punia told media.

 "PT Usha met us and assured her support. She said she is first an athlete and then an administrator." Bajrang told media.

“She said that she is standing with us and will get us justice. She said that she will look into our issue and resolve it as early as possible. We will remain here till Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh goes to jail," he added.

"PT Usha said she was misinterpreted," he added, referring to her comment on wrestlers' lack of discipline.

Former sprinter PT Usha had come down heavily on the wrestlers for resuming their protest instead of approaching the IOA for their issues.

In a statement, PT Usha had said the wrestlers' protest on the streets is “tarnishing" India's image and the the protest by the elite wrestlers equates to “indiscipline".

Sakshi Malik too had slammed PT Usha and had said, “Being a woman athlete, she (PT Usha) isn't listening to other women athletes. Where's indiscipline here, we are sitting here peacefully...She herself cried in front of the media regarding her academy."

Earlier, India's ace wrestler Vinesh Phogat too said that it is tough to stand against a powerful person who is misusing his power and position for a very long time. She further revealed that the wrestlers had met an official before they started their protest in Jantar Mantar, for the first time. But, no action was taken.

She also slammed Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur for not taking any action and suppressing the matter by forming a committee.

"We ended our protest after talking to Union Sports Minister (Anurag Thakur), and all the athletes had told him about the sexual harassment. He by forming a committee tried to suppress the matter there; no action was taken that time," She said.

Star wrestlers, including World Championships medal winner Vinesh Phogat, and Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, have renewed their indefinite protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Three months ago prominent wrestlers came forward to lead a protest against the WFI Chief, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the formation of an 'oversight committee' to probe allegations levelled against the WFI and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and other coaches.

The committee was tasked with submitting a report on the issue to the ministry. The wrestlers launched a fresh protest in April. On April 30, Delhi Police registered two FIRs against WFI president Singh over allegations of sexual harassment and exploitation of female wrestlers by him. Top Indian grapplers such as Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and many other wrestlers are involved in the protest against the WFI chief.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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Published: 03 May 2023, 03:00 PM IST
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