Wrestlers skip IOA's panel hearing

It is understood that the grapplers are not keen on meeting since they already have an Oversight Committee appointed by the sports ministry to probe the allegations.

Published: 29th January 2023 08:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2023 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

Wrestlers protest

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur with wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Babita Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya at a press conference in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The wrestlers, who had written to the Indian Olympic Association alleging various malpractice in the Wrestling Federation of India, including sexual harassment against its president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, apparently are not too keen on attending IOA hearing.

Top wrestlers of the country — multiple World Championships medallist Vinesh Phogat, Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, Sakshi Malik and Worlds medallist Deepak Punia — had sent a letter to the IOA on January 20, while they were protesting against WFI president. One of the demands in the letter was “immediately appoint a committee to enquire into the complaints of sexual harassment”.

The IOA had asked aggrieved wrestlers to meet the IOA panel on Saturday. The IOA had formed a seven-member committee with multiple world champion and London Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom at its helm. Other members in the committee are top archer Dola Banerjee, IOA treasurer Sahdev Yadav, London Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, joint secretary Alaknanda Ashok and two advocates. A letter apparently was sent a couple of days ago to the wrestlers asking them to appear before the committee. However, it is learnt that the wrestlers did not come.

It is understood that the wrestlers are not keen on meeting the IOA panel since they already have an Oversight Committee appointed by the sports ministry. Interestingly, two of the members in the IOA panel are part of the sports ministry’s oversight committee too. The wrestlers had levelled serious allegations against WFI and its president. They have demanded the removal of Singh and the disbanding of the federation and its affiliated units. That was when they were protesting at Jantar Mantar. The wrestlers, it is learnt have also objected to a certain wrestler being part of the committee and apparently, they said the sports ministry is looking into it.

The protest, which started on January 18, continued for three days before the sports ministry brokered a truce and formed a five-member panel that was headed by Mary Kom. Yogeshwar too is in the committee that has former TOPS CEO Rajesh Rajagopalan, former executive director TEAMS Radhica Sreeman and international shuttler Trupti Murgunde. 

Meanwhile, the selected women wrestlers have been called for training at the National Centre of Excellence in Sonepat on Saturday before travelling to Zagreb for the Ranking Series starting February 1. It was learnt that visas for Croatia have yet not been procured. The men’s freestyle wrestlers need to get their visas latest by Monday otherwise their participation in the event might not be possible. All three teams will leave in batches. Some of the wrestlers, who had protested, too started training in Sonepat. 


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp