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Wrestlers meet Sports Minister Anurag Thakur; WFI Chief refuses to quit

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and several other sportsmen will continue their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh

Wrestlers meet Sports Minister Anurag Thakur; WFI Chief refuses to quit
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Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia and several other sportsmen will continue their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at Jantar Mantar on Friday, marking day three on the stir.

Late on Thursday, some protesting top Indian wrestlers met Thakur. However, the meeting remained inconclusive as they refused to back down from their demand that the government immediately disband WFI.

The marathon meeting began around 10 pm on Thursday, the second day of the wrestlers’ protest against wrestling federation president.

The wrestlers left Thakur’s residence at 1:45 am and did not speak to the reporters waiting outside. The wrestlers will meet the sports minister again on Friday, according to government officials.

Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya, Sakshi Malik and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat were part of the meeting.

Thakur flew to Delhi from Himachal Pradesh after an earlier meeting between government officials and the protesting wrestlers remained inconclusive.

The ministry cannot force Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to resign unless it receives a written reply from the WFI since the government itself has asked the wrestling body for an explanation.

The WFI is yet to respond to the Sports Ministry, which on Wednesday gave the wrestling body 72 hours to respond to allegations of sexual harassment of several woman athletes and intimidation by its president.

According to sources, the government wants the wrestlers to end their protest but the athletes are adamant that the WFI should be disbanded first.

A team of wrestlers, including Bajrang, Vinesh, Anshu Malik, Sakshi and her husband Satyawrat Kadiyan met government officials earlier on Thursday and discussed their issues with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi and Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan.

During the hour-long meeting, the wrestlers were asked to end their protest and assured that their grievances will be addressed. Former wrestler and BJP leader Babita Phogat was also part of the meeting to break the deadlock.

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