Former Olympian P.T. Usha Attends The Protest Of The Wrestlers At Jantar Mantar Following Criticism
A day after some athletes criticized her for not supporting their struggle, former track and field great P.T. Usha paid a visit to the wrestlers at their sit-in at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, where they were protesting Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Usha has recently expressed her support for their cause after originally labeling their sit-in protest as an act of indiscipline. On the eleventh day of their sit-in, the top Indian Olympic Association (IOA) official spoke with the protesting wrestlers for roughly 30 minutes. Throughout her visit, she avoided speaking with the media.
Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik, among other protesting wrestlers, had accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of harassing female wrestlers and called for action against him. The sportsmen had voiced distress about Usha’s remarks and boxing legend Mary Kom’s silence on the subject.
Usha’s visit came after a Tuesday night meeting of senior IOA executives, who determined that she should see the wrestlers to restore the organization’s reputation. Usha’s support was warmly received by Punia, who expressed their admiration for her as an athlete.
The wrestlers were reassured by Usha that justice would be served, but they were suspicious. Punia said that “So far, assurances have been no good, but we respect her sentiment.” Usha is a Rajya Sabha member, and they had asked her to bring up their concern, Phogat continued.
The wrestlers stated their lack of confidence in the Delhi Police and accused them of circulating false information about their sit-in. A total of seven wrestlers had filed two first information reports (FIRs) with the police. On Thursday, the Supreme Court will hold its subsequent hearing on their case.
Anurag Thakur, the Union Sports Minister, issued a warning against taking quick action in the case and asserted that no one should be arrested without first conducting a thorough inquiry. He made it clear that anyone found guilty would face harsh punishment, and he categorically opposed any kind of media trial.
Nenad Lalovic, the president of United World Wrestling (UWW), is trying to find out who is in charge of the national organization. On April 28, Lalovic sent a letter to the WFI stating that it was unclear who managed the organization’s daily operations, however, it appeared that the secretary-general (VN Prasood) “is still in place and works actively.”
WFI said that they would write to UWW to request an observer for the initially scheduled elections on May 7. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports intervened, ordering that the elections be declared invalid and held by the IOA instead, which is against IOC Charter policy. On Thursday, the IOA ad hoc committee will convene for the first time.
In conclusion, Usha’s visit to the wrestlers at Jantar Mantar who were protesting managed to contain the situation, but the wrestlers remained wary. Concerns have been expressed over the Wrestling Federation of India’s everyday operations as well as the Delhi Police’s alleged misinformation and delay tactics. The Thursday meeting of the IOA ad hoc committee may provide more information.