P T Usha claims protests are bad for India’s reputation, and wrestlers are “dismayed.”

P T Usha, the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), took a harsh stance towards the protesting wrestlers on Thursday as they returned to the streets to continue their demonstration against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

The three most prominent protestors against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused of sexual harassment and intimidation by the wrestlers, are decorated wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik.

The results of the government-established oversight panel have not yet been made public, and the IOA has not finished its investigation into the claims.

The IOA obviously did not like the wrestlers’ move.

“Our impression is that the IOA has a committee and an athletes’ commission for accusations of sexual harassment. Usha told reporters following the executive committee meeting of the sporting organisation, “Instead of going to the street (again), they should have come to us, but they have not at all gone to IOA.

Usha responded, “Thoda toh discipline hona chahiye (there should be some discipline),” when asked if the IOA will approach the wrestlers given their adamant refusal to leave the protest location until their demands are granted. They went directly to the streets rather than coming to us. It is detrimental to sports.

“IOA President Dr. PT Usha would like to say that this kind of agitation is not good for the country’s image,” stated IOA joint-secretary Kalyan Chaubey. India enjoys a solid reputation worldwide. This bad press is not helpful for the nation.

“Under the norms and the legislation of the nation, we want to stand with not just the wrestlers but with every athlete who has represented India.

We cannot make a hasty conclusion since these are serious claims. We will be able to remark once we have some time to wait and see what these committees come up with, but for the moment, we just talked about how WFI is run on a daily basis.

Additionally, he acknowledged that a number of witnesses have yet to appear before the panel.

“The inquiry is still ongoing. According to what we’ve been told, the committee has a list of potential witnesses, which it will call to testify before the panel, Chaubey said.

In accordance with the Sports Ministry’s instructions, the IOA, according to Chaubey, has assembled a three-person ad hoc panel to oversee the WFI’s operations.

While Suma Shirur is a female athlete and a SOM (Sportsperson of Merit), Bhupendra Singh Bajwa will represent the IOA executive council on the ad-hoc panel. They will be in charge of managing WFI’s daily operations.

“We’ve also talked about (names of) judges. One retired High Court judge will join these two members, making the committee a three-person group. The group will be given legal guidance by the High Court judge, he continued.

Chaubey responded, “There are exceptions in the world,” when told that the IOA constitution forbids an ad-hoc council from managing a National Sports Federation (NSF). India as a country will benefit if IOA assistance can aid a sport or a sportsperson.

On Friday, the Supreme Court will hear the case. Before they could move on with the filing of a FIR against Brij Bhushan, the Delhi Police had informed the top court that the situation required a preliminary investigation.


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