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Sakshi Malik advices wrestlers to participate in nationals conducted by ad-hoc panel

New Delhi: Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik on Thursday advised the country’s wrestlers to participate in the Nationals conducted by the ad-hoc committee in Jaipur and not in the event organised by the suspended national federation.

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Along with Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi led a prolonged fight against the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who was accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by the trio.

“I urge the wrestlers to go and play in the Nationals organised by the ad-hoc committee and not to take part in the tournament organised by the WFI. The tournament organised by the ad-hoc panel is the recognised event,” Sakshi said in a video on X.

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Last month, the ad-hoc committee governing the WFI announced that the senior national championships for wrestling would be held from February 2 to 5 in Jaipur.

The Bhupinder Singh Bajwa-led panel said the event will feature competitions across senior free style, Greco Roman, and women’s categories.

The Bajwa-headed panel was formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to oversee the WFI after the newly-elected body, led by Brij Bhushan loyalist Sanjay Singh, was suspended by the sports ministry for violating its own constitution.

A woman wrestler from Rohtak, however, told PTI that they will compete in the Nationals to be conducted by WFI in Pune, despite the government according recognition to the Nationals organised by the ad-hoc panel.

“Most states will go to Pune only. There is an issue in the state of Haryana because there are factions in the association. But if you look at other states, like Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan, all are going to Pune. So, we are also going there,” she said when asked about the government directive.

“Most of the wrestlers in our akhara will go to Pune but a few will also go to the Nationals in Jaipur. But you will see a majority of the players in Pune,” said the wrestler who did not wish to be named.

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