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IOA Chief PT Usha Visits Protesting Wrestlers, Promises Early Resolution

Initially, the ace sprinter had received backlash for labelling the wrestlers' protest as "indiscipline".

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IOA Chief PT Usha Visits Protesting Wrestlers, Promises Early Resolution
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The wrestlers' protest that's been going strong for the past 11 days at Delhi's Jantar Mantar had a surprise drop-in on Wednesday, 3 May.

The latest: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha met the players to back their protest against sidelined WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment by women grapplers.

  • “She (PT Usha) said that she is standing with us and will get us justice and that she is an athlete first and then anything else,” Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia was quoted as saying by ANI.

  • “She said that she will look into our issue and resolve it as early as possible," Punia added.

Change of heart? Initially, the ace sprinter had received backlash for labelling the wrestlers' street protest against Brij Bhushan as "indiscipline" and claimed that it was tarnishing the image of India.

  • "The IOA has an athletes’ commission. Instead of going on the streets, they could have come to us. The wrestlers themselves suggested an ad-hoc committee and we have formed one," Usha had said.

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Flip side: "Being a woman athlete, she (PT Usha) is not listening to other women athletes. We have followed her since childhood and got inspired by her. Where is indiscipline here, we are sitting here peacefully,” Sakshi Malik, an Olympic gold medallist participating in the dharna, had said.

  • Medal-winning grappler Vinesh Phogat had also slammed Usha's remarks as "insensitive".

In a nutshell: Indian wrestlers including world champions such as Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia have been calling for action to be taken against Brij Bhushan, who is also a BJP MP.

  • “We will remain here till Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh goes to jail,” Punia was quoted as saying by ANI.

  • Some of India's top sportspersons such as Abhinav Bindra, Neeraj Chopra, Baichung Bhutia, and Sania Mirza, among others, have sided with the wrestlers.

  • Prominent politicians such as Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi have also made an appearance at the protest site.

Meanwhile, Brij Bhushan has refused to resign from the wrestling body, saying that it would then mean he has accepted the allegations.

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Topics:  Sexual Harassment   PT Usha   Wrestlers 

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