The newly elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Sanjay Singh on Saturday stated that taking retirement is a personal call of an athlete and said he would refrain to speak on this matter. Earlier, Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, a face of the wrestlers’ protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations, announced on Thursday that she is quitting wrestling. Her decision came within an hour after Sanjay Singh was elected as the new WFI chief, replacing Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Talking to the reporters, Sanjay said it’s not a crime to be close to former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh and he is not a “dummy candidate”.

“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 Singh) does not mean I am a dummy candidate. Is it a crime if I am close to him?” Sanjay told the reporters.

Meanwhile, former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said that the federation will host Under-15 and Under-20 wrestling events from 28th December to 31st December.

“Because of some issues, national or state level wrestling events were paused in the country for 11 months…We have announced to hold Under-15 and Under-20 wrestling events from 28th December to 31st December…If these tournaments are not organised within 31st, one complete year of the wrestlers will be affected,” Brij Bhushan told the media.

Sakshi, distraught and emotional, broke down as she left the venue after addressing a press conference in the national capital after announcing her retirement.

During the media interaction, the renowned wrestler put her shoes on the table at the press conference as she announced her decision to quit wrestling.

“We slept for 40 days on the roads and a lot of people from several parts of the country came to support us. If Brij Bhushan Singh’s business partner and a close aide is elected as the president of WFI, I quit wrestling,” she said, accompanied by some other wrestlers who were part of the protest.

A day after Sakshi’s decision, India’s ace wrestler Bajrang Punia on Friday announced that he is returning his Padma Shri after former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s aide was elected president of the Federation.

Punia shared a detailed post on X, stating, “I am returning my Padma Shri award to the Prime Minister. All I have to say is in this letter; this is my statement.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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