Babita comes with message; wrestlers demand new federation

Babita, a former wrestler, arrived to the protest and heard the demands of the grapplers.
People protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
People protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Three-time CWG medallist and BJP leader Babita Phogat on Thursday came with a "message" from the government and assured the grapplers that their demands will be met after elite wrestlers insisted that WFI be disbanded.

Top Indian wrestlers including three-time CWG champion Vinesh Phogat and the Olympic bronze medallist duo of Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, sat in protest at the Jantar Mantar for the second day straight against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Babita, a former wrestler, arrived to the protest and heard the demands of the grapplers.

"I will try to get the solution. I am a wrestler first and then a political person. I know their pain and I will try to get the solution that the wrestlers want," Babita said.

Bajrang, Anshu Malik, Sakshi and Vinesh have demanded that the WFI be disbanded and a new federation be formed.

Wrestlers including Bajrang, his wife Sangeeta, Vinesh, Sarita Mor, Anshu Malik, Antim Pangal were called for a meeting with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, a few minutes after Babita left the protest site.

On Wednesday, Vinesh had claimed that WFI chief has been sexually exploiting women wrestlers for many years, a charge that the sports administrator and BJP MP has vehemently denied.

She also alleged that several coaches at the national camp in Lucknow have also exploited women wrestlers.

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