27 Apr 2023

Wrestlers Protest: What PT Usha Said And How Wrestlers Responded


New Delhi: Top Indian wrestlers sitting on protest on Thursday expressed surprise over Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President PT Usha's statement that it was "indiscipline" on the part of wrestlers to protest again and that they were tarnishing the image of the country.

Bajrang Punia told reporters on the fourth day of the protest at Jantar Mantar, "We did not expect this from PT Usha ji. We thought she would stand by the athletes. She herself is a woman, so we expected her to stand with us. I am saddened by her words. She had tweeted sometime back that some miscreants were trying to grab the land of her academy. Wasn't the country's image tarnished at that time?"

Tokyo Olympic medalist Punia further said, "That too was a case involving an international athlete. We were also saddened to hear about that incident. She is such a great athlete and now even a Rajya Sabha MP, but still this should happen to her. If all this can happen to an MP, then we are only ordinary athletes. What power do we have? Anything can happen to us, Usha ji should have thought about this."

"What will the players do when they don't get justice? She herself can tell under whose pressure she has said such thing about her fellow athletes," Punia added.

Usha ji should have met players and talked to them: Vinesh


Three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat also expressed displeasure over former track and field athlete Usha's comments, saying she should have met the players and talked to them.


Phogat said, "When the country's Olympic medalists are sitting on the streets protesting, I feel PT Usha ma'am should have come to us. She should have asked why we are shedding tears. Being citizens of a democratic country It is our right to protest as citizens. Till we get justice, we will stay here."

It is noteworthy that well-known wrestlers like Punia, Vinesh and Sakshi Malik are again sitting on protest against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from Sunday. Wrestlers have made many serious allegations against. Singh like sexual exploitation and they demand that the Bahubali leader of Uttar Pradesh should be removed from the post of president and the allegations should be investigated.

'Whoever gets us justice will be god for us'


Vinesh said that the matter is now in the Supreme Court and she has full faith in the law. "We only have faith in the Supreme Court. We are waiting for justice. Whoever gets us justice... whether it is Usha or anyone else, will be God for us. It is not that we have not spoken to her," he said. "I called Usha on her personal phone number. No one answered my calls. She doesn't respect the sentiments of athletes."

Vineshe said, "No athlete is happy sitting on the road. Nor are we becoming champions by sitting here. No one has the guts to speak against Brij Bhushan. Athletes have come forward and raised their voice against him. We know that for us the future is going to be tough. The whole government is trying to save him."


Withdrawing protest in January was a mistake: Sakshi


Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik said withdrawing the protest in January was a mistake.

“The report by the oversight committee was not made public, and we have reasons to believe the culprits got a clean chit,” said Malik, who won the women’s 58kg freestyle bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Certain people misled us and convinced us to withdraw our protest in January,” she said. “But we have learned our lesson, and this time we won’t leave until we get justice.”

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