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Updated December 21st, 2023 at 15:28 IST

Set to script history if elected as WFI chief, Anita Sheoran to challenge Brij Bhushan's close aide

Posted as an inspector in Haryana’s Rohtak, Sheoran aspires to break the decade-old stranglehold of the BJP heavyweight Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Simran Babbar
Anita became the first international athlete from Dhani Mahu village in Haryana’s Bhiwani took up wrestling defying societal pressure.
Anita became the first international athlete from Dhani Mahu village in Haryana’s Bhiwani took up wrestling defying societal pressure. | Image:Republic
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‘'If I win the elections, ensuring justice will be my top priority,'' said the 38-year-old Anita Sheoran, who is in line to be the first woman president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). The much-delayed polls for the top post of the Wrestling Federation of India will be held on Thursday. However, Sheoran faces an uphill battle as she will be up against outgoing WFI president and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's loyalist Sanjay Kumar Singh.

'Justice will be served': Sheoran's strong words against Brij Bhushan

Claiming that Bhushan has heavy control within the administration at the WFI office and among panel members, the 2010 Commonwealth gold medal winner said, '‘I am confident of my win as I have all the support of all those people who witnessed what happened during the presidentship of Brij Bhushan. One of my top priorities after taking the charge is to ensure that justice is served." 

Posted as an inspector in Haryana’s Rohtak, Sheoran aspires to break the decade-old stranglehold of the BJP heavyweight from UP. Contesting against UP Wrestling Association vice-president, Sheoran is backed by some of India’s top wrestlers – Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat who were at the centerstage of the wrestlers protest at Jantar Mantar earlier this year. Sheoran has been a corroborator and a witness among the many witnesses in the case alleging sexual harassment against Brij Bhushan. Pitted against a close aide of Brij Bhushan, Sanjay Singh, who hails from Varanasi, is the UP-Wrestling Association vice-president.

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Plans about Change and Hope

‘Building a safer environment for women and ringing in positive changes in the system are the areas where I plan to work upon. The fight is not to make him lose but to be able to provide a secure atmosphere to all our budding woman wrestlers in future. I want the reputation of the Federation which has been dented massively after the fallout to subsequently improve,’ said Anita while speaking over what motivates her to contest the polls in a tough contest. She mentions how her fighting spirit which was instilled from an early age motivated her to stand up to the contest. Anita became the first international athlete from Dhani Mahu village in Haryana’s Bhiwani took up wrestling defying societal pressure.

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Besides the post of the president, elections are also going to be held for the several other posts including senior vice-president (1), vice-presidents (4), secretary-general (1), treasurer (1), joint secretaries (2), executive members (5).

Saying that her wrestling background will inspire other budding athletes, Sheoran said, "I come from a wrestling background, and I believe someone who has been a sportsperson themselves are best suited to lead the top post. Those who have been running it until now have no concern for the athletes. If I take the charge, I will ensure that women and young children who aspire to play for the nation are provided support in training and amenities. We have seen how pressurizing it was for the athletes who accused the former WFI president, and I will make sure that no such athlete suffers like that again during my charge.’'

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The much-awaited election process was put to a halt during the court cases after a massive agitation was spearheaded by country’s top wrestlers at Jantar Mantar. It is after the Apex Court recently set aside the stay imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, paving the way for the process to elect the new WFI governing body.

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Published December 21st, 2023 at 02:15 IST

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