Sanjay Singh says being close to Brij Bhushan does not make him a “dummy candidate”

Sanjay Singh won most of the votes in the delayed polls, as outgoing chief Brij Bhushan gained indirect control over the national federation.

Published : Dec 23, 2023 22:07 IST , New Delhi - 3 MINS READ

BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh with the newly-elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Sanjay Singh.
BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh with the newly-elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Sanjay Singh. | Photo Credit: PTI
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BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh with the newly-elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Sanjay Singh. | Photo Credit: PTI

Newly appointed Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Sanjay Singh on Saturday lashed out at the protesting grapplers for “engaging in politics” and asserted that he is not a dummy candidate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Sanjay Singh, who was elected as the president of the WFI on Thursday, is known to be a close confidante of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who had been accused of sexual harassment by the country’s top wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia.

Sanjay Singh, whose panel won 13 of the 15 posts, got most of the votes in the delayed polls, as the outgoing chief Brij Bhushan gained indirect control over the national federation.

“Those who are athletes have already started preparing and those who want to engage in politics can do that. It is their personal matter, I will not speak about this.

“I have been in the federation for 12 years. Just because I am close to MP (Brij Bhushan) does not mean I am a dummy candidate. Is it a crime if I am close to him?” Sanjay Singh told reporters when asked about Sakshi deciding to quit wrestling after his election to the top spot.

Expressing her disappointment, a teary-eyed Sakhi Malik on Thursday announced her decision to retire form the sport following the wrestling body’s elections. On Friday, Bajrang Punia, who is also a Olympic bronze medallist like Sakshi, decided to return his Padma Shri to the government as a mark of protest.

Earlier, Sakshi, Bajrang and Vinesh Phogat had demanded that no close associate of Brij Bhushan should enter the WFI.

A BJP Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Kaiserganj, Brij Bhushan stepped down as WFI president after being accused of exploitation by top female wrestlers in the country.

Also read | Sports Minister refuses to get embroiled in Bajrang Punia controversy

Meanwhile, Sakshi said she is worried about the junior wresters who has been “calling me about the junior nationals”.

The new body under president Sanjay Singh had on Friday announced that the U15 and U20 nationals will be held from December 28-30 in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh.

“I have given up wrestling but I am worried since last night. What should I do about those junior women wrestlers who are calling me and telling me that the junior nationals are going to be held from 28th and the new wrestling federation has decided to hold it in Nandani Nagar Gonda.

“Gonda is the area of ​​Brij Bhushan. Now imagine how the junior women wrestlers will go there to compete. Is there no place in this country to hold Nationals anywhere other than Nandani Nagar? I don’t understand what to do.”

The WFI also said the senior National Championships will be held from January 28 in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar. As a rule, a state association has to show interest in hosting Nationals.

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