"Women Will Continue To Be Harassed": Wrestler Vinesh Phogat After Key Poll

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's close aide Sanjay Singh won the WFI polls yesterday to succeed him in the top post.

Vinesh Phogat is a Commonwealth and Asian Games Gold medalist.

New Delhi:

Vinesh Phogat, one of the ace wrestlers who led the protests against a former wrestling body chief over sexual harassment charges, broke down on camera after his aide succeeded him in the post.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who led the Wrestling Federation of India for 12 years, had to step aside earlier this year, paving the way for fresh polls. His close aide Sanjay Singh won the polls yesterday to succeed him in the top post.

The wrestlers at the forefront of the protests - Sakshee Malikkh, Bajrang Punia, and Vinesh Phogat - addressed the media after the election results were declared.

"Now that Sanjay Singh has been elected chief of the federation, women wrestlers will continue to face harassment," Ms Phogat said while Ms Malikkh declared she's quitting the sport.

Ms Phogat, a Commonwealth and Asian Games Gold medallist, said she has "no clue how to find justice in the country."

"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," she added while interacting with the media.

Ms Malikkh, an Olympic medallist, said they had wanted the wrestling body to get a woman chief. "But that did not happen," she said. "We fought, but if the new president is Brij Bhushan's aide, his business partner, then I quit wrestling,"

she added while putting her boots on the table.

Sanjay Singh won 40 out of 47 votes in a sweeping victory over Anita Sheoran, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist who was backed by top wrestlers who had protested over sexual harassment charges against Mr Singh, a six-time MP from Uttar Pradesh's Kaiserganj.

Sanjay Singh has earlier served as vice-president of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling body and was also part of the WFI's last executive council and its joint secretary since 2019.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav, who was in the race for the WFI vice-president post, lost the election.

Besides the president post, elections were also held to fill up posts for a senior vice-president, four vice-presidents, a secretary general, a treasurer, two joint secretaries and five executive members.