Geeta, Babita Phogat support cousin Vinesh and other wrestlers in protest against WFI

Commonwealth Games medallist Geeta Phogat and her sister Babita have come out in support of their cousin Vinesh and their brother-in-law Bajrang Punia, both of whom along with other top Indian wrestlers are currently protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for allegedly harassing women grapplers.

Olympian wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and other top Indian grapplers are protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) at the Jantar Mantar here after Vinesh levelled serious allegations of sexual harassment of female wrestlers against the sports body’s coaches and president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist broke down while speaking to reporters on Wednesday, as more than 30 wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, staged a protest at the Jantar Mantar here. Vinesh said she was subjected to mental harassment by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, adding that she had even contemplated suicide.

On Thursday morning, Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat tweeted their support to the protesting wrestlers who have demanded the removal of the WFI president.

“The wrestlers of our country have done a very courageous work to bring out the truth about what happens to the players in WFI and it is the duty of all our countrymen to support the players in the fight for this truth and to get justice for them,” Geeta wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

Her young sister, Babita too raised her voice in a tweet, “I stand with all my fellow players in this matter of wrestling. I assure all of you that I will work to raise this issue with the government at every level and the future will be decided according to the feelings of the players,” she wrote.

Earlier, the Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and other top Indian grapplers, who are protesting against the WFI, spent Wednesday night at a temple in Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi.

“All wrestlers were awake till late in the night. They were discussing further plans for the agitation. They were sharing messages on social media, requesting more wrestlers and people of India to join them at Jantar Mantar on Thursday,” sources told IANS.

“Some senior SAI (Sports Authority of India) officials also met them at the temple. This morning they ate prasad and left for Jantar Mantar to continue their protest.”

On Wednesday, the Sports Ministry had sought an explanation from the WFI “within the next 72 hours” on the allegations levelled by the wrestlers against the federation and its chief.

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