Bajrang Punia urges Sports Ministry to restart wrestling activities in view of Paris Olympics

"Wrestling activities have come to a standstill for the last several months. Neither has any nationals been held nor have any camps been organised to prepare the players" said Punia

Punia, who recently decided to return his Padma Shri in protest over the election of Sanjay Singh, asserts that the preparation for the Olympics needs urgent attention. (Photo: @DDNewsLive/X )
Punia, who recently decided to return his Padma Shri in protest over the election of Sanjay Singh, asserts that the preparation for the Olympics needs urgent attention. (Photo: @DDNewsLive/X )
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PTI

Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia on Saturday, 20 December urged the Sports Ministry to restart the wrestling activities in the country with just seven months remaining for next year’s Paris Games, and said no one seemed to have taken the preparations for the quadrennial showpiece "seriously".

Wrestling action has come to a standstill for the last several months owing to the turmoil within the fraternity following the grapplers’ protests against former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Even the election of a new Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) committee could not restore normalcy as the Sports Ministry suspended the Sanjay Singh-led panel citing the violation of its own constitution in announcing the national U-15 and U-20 Championships.

"Wrestling activities have come to a standstill for the last several months. Neither has any nationals been held nor have any camps been organised to prepare the players (for Paris Olympics)," Punia wrote on his X account.

Punia, who had decided to return his Padma Shri in protest over the election of Sanjay Singh, a Brij Bhushan loyalist, further said the preparation for the Olympics needed urgent attention.

"There is an Olympic Games after seven months but no one seems serious about it. Wrestling has given four consecutive medals in the last four Olympics,” he said.

Punia, a 65kg freestyle bronze winner in Tokyo Olympics, said the officials should keep in mind the players’ future.

"So, I request the Sports Ministry to start all wrestling activities as soon as possible so that the future of the players can be saved,” he added.

In the recent days, a slew of protest measures from the grapplers took the centre stage as Sakshi Malik decided to retire from wrestling while Vinesh Phogat decided to return her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award in a letter addressed to PM Narendra Modi.

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Published: 30 Dec 2023, 1:49 PM
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