Commonwealth & Asian Games female gold medalist wrestler Vinesh Phogat to return Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award


Delhi, Dec 26: Less than a week after Sakshee Malikkh retired from wrestling and Bajrang Punia returned his Padma Shri, Vinesh Phogat, another prominent wrestler, has announced the return of her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award. The trio had been actively protesting against the former Wrestling Federation of India chief, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who faced sexual harassment allegations from several women wrestlers.

The swift decisions by the wrestlers come in the wake of the panel led by Sanjay Singh, a close aide of Brij Bhushan, winning the Wrestling Federation of India elections by a landslide. This outcome, signaling a continuity of leadership, prompted the sports ministry to suspend the panel on Sunday.

In an emotional open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vinesh Phogat expressed frustration, questioning whether women wrestlers are only meant for government advertisements. She cited the sacrifices made by athletes who had brought Olympic medals for the country and accused Brij Bhushan of admitting on television to making women wrestlers uncomfortable. Phogat, emphasizing the importance of living with dignity, announced the return of her Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to avoid them becoming a burden.



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