Sanjay Singh Becomes The New Wrestling Federation Chief

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Sanjay Singh Becomes The New Wrestling Federation Chief

| Updated: December 21, 2023 17:59

The New Wrestling Federation Chief

New Delhi: Sanjay Singh, riding the wave of Brij Bhushan’s legacy, was crowned the new president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Thursday, solidifying his faction’s control over the embattled sports body. The outcome, a foregone conclusion for many, leaves a bitter taste for those who yearned for change after months of athlete protests against sexual harassment allegations.

Singh, buoyed by a whopping 40-to-7 vote over Anita Sheoran, emerges as a close confidante of the ousted Brij Bhushan, whose shadow continues to loom. His first words after the electoral sweep? A stark divide: “Let wrestlers wrestle, let politicians play politics.”

While Singh celebrates a “triumph” for Indian wrestlers, whispers of doubt linger. The secretary general seat went to Sheoran’s panel, a consolation prize in a game seemingly rigged for the existing guard. Even Devender Singh Kadian, once seen as a champion of the protesting wrestlers, secured a senior vice president post, blurring the lines further.

Brij Bhushan’s loyal troops swept the remaining positions, showcasing a near-unanimous show of strength. From vice presidents to executive committee members, the familiar faces reign supreme. The wrestlers’ desperate pleas, echoed through months of protest, seem to have faded into the background.

Despite assurances from Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, barring Brij Bhushan’s family and close associates from the elections, the outcome paints a different picture. The wrestlers themselves had hoped for a clean break, a new page in the troubled history of Indian wrestling.

However, a silver lining emerges. With the new council in place, the path towards lifting the United World Wrestling (UWW) ban on WFI opens. This international suspension, imposed due to delayed elections, had forced Indian wrestlers to compete as neutral athletes at the 2023 world championships.

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