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Amidst this turmoil, Brij Bhushan Singh met with BJP president JP Nadda, publicly announcing his retirement from wrestling. Singh emphasized that the new WFI governing body had been elected under the government’s directive and Supreme Court monitoring, presenting it as a democratic process.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) found itself under the spotlight recently as the Union sports ministry took the unprecedented step of suspending its operations. This suspension arose due to what the ministry deemed a flagrant disregard for established norms and legal procedures. It was compounded by the perception that the newly-elected WFI body seemed to be under the control of former office-bearers, prompting concerns about the organization’s autonomy and governance.

The ministry, in response to these concerns, took a decisive move by suspending the WFI and sought the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) intervention. They were tasked with forming an ad-hoc committee to temporarily manage and oversee the activities of the wrestling federation.

The events leading to this suspension traced back to the WFI elections held on December 21. Sanjay Singh, backed by former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, emerged victorious, assuming the leadership role. However, controversy loomed over Singh’s appointment, leading to opposition from notable wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia. This opposition took a severe form when Malik announced her retirement in protest, and Punia returned his Padma Shri award.

The ministry’s decision was also fueled by concerns over the newly-elected body’s actions. They cited a rushed announcement of organizing the U-15 and U-20 nationals without adhering to due procedures, giving inadequate notice to wrestlers for adequate preparation. The choice of Gonda for trials further fueled concerns, given its association with Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The ministry highlighted a troubling aspect where the Federation’s operations seemed to continue from premises under the control of former office-bearers. This same location was also linked to allegations of player harassment, currently under court scrutiny. These factors formed the crux of the ministry’s decision to suspend the WFI’s operations.

Amidst this turmoil, Brij Bhushan Singh met with BJP president JP Nadda, publicly announcing his retirement from wrestling. Singh emphasized that the new WFI governing body had been elected under the government’s directive and Supreme Court monitoring, presenting it as a democratic process.

Regarding the allegations against him, Singh dismissed them as baseless and reiterated his stance, highlighting the ongoing legal proceedings. He underlined the retirement decisions of both Sakshi Malik and himself, indicating an endpoint to the matter from his perspective.

The events leading to the WFI’s suspension not only reflect a struggle for power within the wrestling federation but also raise questions about procedural integrity, governance, and the well-being of athletes. The ministry’s intervention indicates a broader concern for upholding fair and transparent practices within India’s sporting ecosystem.

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