Sanjay Kumar Singh, who is known to be a close aide of former wrestling body chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, was elected President of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) after elections in the Capital on Thursday. Singh won 40 of the 47 votes while his opponent Anita Sheoran got the remaining seven votes.
Prem Chand Lochab of Sheoran’s group became the secretary general.
“The panel of ours has won. Fortunately, everyone has won with a good majority,” said Vishal Singh, son-in-law of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was ousted from the post of president following allegations of sexual harassment that forced country’s top wrestlers like Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia to sit on multiple protests at the Jantar Mantar this year.
The last of the protests culminated in the arrest of wrestlers following crackdown by the police. Sheoran was backed by the protesting wrestlers.
“Our athletes could have done better. However, due to all this mess they couldn’t perform. They are not to blame. Our athletes have great potential and ability. If their performance gets affected due to politics, then it becomes a problem,” said Vishal to the media.
Sanjay Kumar Singh, who is the head of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling body, had been serving as joint-secretary of the WFI since 2019 before the court ended the previous dispensation’s tenure.
“We will not let anything hamper the preparation of wrestlers, since there are Olympics next year. We will conduct national championships,” said Sanjay to the media
The Indian wrestlers got only six medals – one silver and five bronze — at the Hangzhou Asian Games earlier this year even though the Indian contingent garnered 107 medals, their best-ever haul. Punia, who was part of the protest, returned empty-handed.