Vinesh Phogat to return Awards; writes to PM Modi

World championship medalist Vinesh Phogat on December 26 announced the Khal Ratna Award and Arjuna Award to the government in protest against the election of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s patron Sanjay Singh as president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). It was announced that the prize would be returned. A letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Vinesh’s decision came days after Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia and Deaf Olympian Virender Singh Yadav returned their Padma Shri awards.

“I am returning the Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award,” Vinesh announced in a letter posted on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

Sanjay Singh was elected president of the WFI on Thursday after a committee led by Brij Bhushan’s close aides won 13 of the 15 posts.

Wrestlers demanded that Brij Boshan’s close aides not be placed in WFI management.

After the election, Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik announced her retirement from the sport.

But subsequently the Sports Ministry suspended its newly elected committee for not following the provisions of its constitution while taking decisions and also formed a special committee to run the affairs of sports organizations and requested the IOA.

In canceling the meeting of the new committee, the government announced that it would organize the national under-15 and under-20 teams “without following legal procedures and without adequate notification to the wrestlers” in preparation. The reason was “hasty announcement”.

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