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Vinesh Phogat returns Khel Ratna, Arjuna awards

Published at :December 26, 2023 at 9:45 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 12:34 AM
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(Courtesy : Times Now)

Ajay Gandhar

A few days back, Bajrang Punia returned his Padma Shri award.

In a significant development, Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat announced on Tuesday that she is returning her Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards. The decision comes in protest against the recent election of Sanjay Singh as the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Vinesh Phogat took to her X (formerly Twitter) account to share the news. In a post accompanied by a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she wrote, “I am returning my Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and Arjun Awards.

The wave of returning awards in the wrestling fraternity has been triggered by the election of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s aide, Sanjay Singh, as the president of the WFI. Earlier, Sakshi Malik announced her retirement from wrestling, and Bajrang Punia was seen leaving his Padma Shri medal on a pavement along the Kartavya Path in Delhi, expressing their discontent over Sanjay Singh’s elevation

Sanjay Singh won the elections on Thursday, defeating former wrestler Anita Sheoran with a margin of 40-7. However, his victory was followed by the suspension of the federation by the country’s Sports Ministry on Sunday. The ministry cited the federation’s “hasty announcement” of organizing the U-15 and U-20 national trials in Gonda “without giving sufficient notice to wrestlers to prepare” as the reason for the suspension.

Vinesh Phogat, a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist, was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2016 and the Khel Ratna in 2020. Her decision to return these prestigious awards marks a significant moment in Indian sports, highlighting the growing discontent among athletes over the administration.

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