Bajrang Punia congratulates Vinesh on winning trials, alleges propaganda against her during bout

Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medallist Bajrang Punia has wished Olympian Vinesh Phogat for winning the 50kg final in the National Selection Trials

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medallist Bajrang Punia has wished Olympian Vinesh Phogat for winning the 50kg final in the National Selection Trials for the upcoming Asian Championship and the Olympic qualifiers. Bajrang also alleged that propaganda on social media to vilify Vinesh.

Vinesh, who was a prominent face of protest against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, defeated Shivanee 11-6 in the 50kg final after suffering a humiliating 0-10 defeat against Anju of Railways in the semifinal of the 53 kg category at the trials in Patiala on Monday.

Vinesh had lost to Anju in the semifinals within 18 seconds to win the bout in the 53kg category.

Vinesh, who is also competing in 50kg, had earlier defeated Nirmala 10-0 in the semis. She then came back in the evening to get the better of Shivanee, defeating her 11-6 in the 50kg final.

While coming out in support of Vinesh after she won the final, Bajrang also congratulated all wrestlers that have won in the trials and hoped that they will win medals in the Paris Olympic Games.

“Congratulations on winning today’s bout to Vinesh Phogat. But during today’s bout, we saw that propaganda was run on social media to vilify you. It is a reprehensible act,” said Bajrang in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Congratulated to all wrestlers who won their bouts on Monday. We all hope that Indian wrestlers will return with medals from the Paris Olympic Games. We will be there waiting at the airport with flowers to welcome the medal winners,” said Bajrang.

The Tokyo Olympic Games medallist, who himself lost badly in the trials on Sunday, consoled all those wrestlers who lost in the trials.

He also told the wrestlers not to lose hope and continue to work hard and struggle. “This is a common struggle for all of us, this is a struggle to save wrestling,” said Bajrang in his post, ending his post with a couplet about defeat and victory being one and same for everyone working hard and struggling for success. “Will not beg for alms,” said the couplet.

Bajrang and Vinesh along with 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist Sakshi Malik were at the forefront of a group of wrestlers that sat on a protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh alleging that he had sexually harrassed young female wrestlers during his rule as president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Their protest fizzled out when Delhi Police on orders of the government dismantled the infracture at the protest site at Jantar Mantar and detained the three Olympians.

The WFI was suspended by the Sports Ministry and the United World Wrestling (UWW) before the suspension was lifted when Sanjay Singh, a close aide of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, was elected president of WFI.



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