Sanjay Singh was elected the new president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Thursday, comfortably winning most of the posts in the delayed polls to assert control over the wrestling body.
Singh, who is part of the Brij Bhushan faction and UP Wrestling Association vice president, secured 40 votes as against the seven that his competitor, Anita Sheoran, polled.
The result to many was a foregone conclusion as the opposing faction simply didn’t have the necessary numbers.
Singh hails from Varanasi and is known to be a close associate of Brij Bhushan, former WFI chief, whose term had ended amid allegations of sexual harassment.
WFI Poll Results
The Brij Bhushan camp swept all the four posts of vice presidents with Delhi’s Jai Prakash (37), West Bengal’s Asit Kumar Saha (42), Punjab’s Kartar Singh (44) and Manipur’s N Phoni (38) winning.
‘Jinko kushti karni hai woh kushti karein. Jinko rajneeti karni hain woh rajneeti karein’(Wrestlers who want to compete, they should wrestle. Those who want to do politics, should do politics), Singh said after sweeping the election.
‘It’s triumph for thousands of wrestlers in the country who suffered in the past seven-eight months,’ he added.
Sheoran’s panel claimed the secretary general post however, with Prem Chand Lochab, a former RSPB (Railway Sports Promotion Board) secretary, beating Darshan Lal 27-19.
Devender Singh Kadian, reported to be connected with the protesting wrestlers, claimed the senior vice president’s post, beating I D Nanavati 32-15.
The new Madhya Pradesh chief minister Mohan Yadav, who was in the running for vice-president, but did not turn up for the polls and got only five votes.
Uttarakhand’s Satyapal Singh Deshwal, also said to be from the Brij Bhushan camp, is the new treasurer. Deshwal beat Jammu and Kashmir’s Dushyant Sharma 34-12.
All five executive committee members are therefore from the outgoing chief’s camp.
There is unlikely to be any change in Indian wrestling, given the poll results, despite the intense wrestler protests.
The wrestlers had officially called off their protest on June 7 after sports minister Anurag Thakur assured them that none of Brij Bhushan’s associates would be allowed to contest the elections.
Sakshee Malikkh says ‘I quit wrestling’
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshee Malikkh said was going to quit wrestling, expressing her disappointment over Singh’s win.
Speaking to the press in the capital, Malikkh said the promises made to the wrestlers were not fulfilled.
‘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,’ the star wrestler said at the Press Club of India on Thursday.
Sakshee was seen leaving the premises in tears after the emotional press conference in the capital.
Lifting of United World Wrestling (UWW) ban on WFI
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