BJP MP and former wrestling federation chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, severed all ties with the sport on Monday, and his upcoming meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah will have nothing to do with it. His remark assumes significance, as, on Sunday, the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs issued an official release stating that it had suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) along with its newly elected chief and other office-bearers.
The decision of the Sports Ministry came close on the heels of the newly elected WFI president Sanjay Singh announcing the hosting of the U-15 and U-20 nationals at Nandini Nagar in the Gond district of Uttar Pradesh by the end of the year. The Sports Ministry termed the decision “hasty” and a “complete disregard to the sports code.”
Bhushan held a press conference later in the day saying, “Sanjay Singh is not my relative. I have withdrawn myself from wrestling affairs of the country.” On Monday, he reaffirmed that he had broken all ties with the sport and wouldn’t be involved with activities related to the sport.
“Whatever I had to say, I said yesterday. I have taken retirement from wrestling administration and have nothing to do with the sport anymore. As far as meeting Union HM Amit Shah is concerned, if it happens, we will not discuss wrestling. Sanjay Singh should do his work, I am doing mine. The wrestling issue is between the government and the elected federation, I have nothing to do with this,” Brij Bhushan told reporters. Meanwhile, the newly elected WFI president, Sanjay Singh, weighing in on the decision of the Sports Ministry earlier, said the future of children pursuing the sport is in peril and he would soon hold talks with the government.
“We will speak to the central government, PM Modi and the Sports Minister. The future of our children is in peril. Some members of our executive committee will hold talks with the Centre,” Singh told ANI. On his ties with former WFI president Brij Bhushan, he said they come from different communities but they share a bond of friendship, adding that he was the joint secretary of the federation during the former’s tenure as the chief of wrestling’s top governing body in the country.
“After the new federation was formed, he (Brij Bhushan) received a send-off and today, he said he has retired from wrestling administration. (Olympian) Sakshi Malik has also retired. With neither of them now associated with the sport, let the federation run peacefully. Him (Brij Bhushan) and I are from different communities. So, could we be relatives? When he was the president of the federation, I was joint secretary. It’s the bond of friendship that has held us close,” Singh added. On Thursday, Sanjay Singh was elected as the new president of the WFI following the conclusion of the election.
An hour later, Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik addressed the press conference and announced her retirement from the sport, claiming that the Centre went back on its word to not allow an aide of Brij Bhushan to be elected to any post in the WFI. She put her shoes on the table during the press conference, announcing her decision to quit wrestling.