Nationals organised by suspended WFI have no value: Sakshi, Vinesh

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Jaipur, Feb 3 (PTI) Top Indian wrestlers Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat hit out at the suspended Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Saturday, saying the national championships organised by them in Pune had "no value" and the certificates handed out were "fake".

The affairs of wrestling sport are being run by the Indian Olympic Association-constituted ad-hoc body, while the newly-elected WFI, led by Sanjay Singh, has been suspended by the sports ministry for violating its own constitution.

The suspended WFI, despite being warned of legal action by the ministry for organising the 'nationals', went ahead with the tournament in Pune from January 29-31.

The IOA ad-hoc committee is also organising the national championships here in Jaipur from February 2-5, and Sakshi said on the sidelines of the tournament that the suspended WFI is just trying to show off its strength by organising the 'nationals' in Pune.

"They (WFI) have just conducted a parallel national championship and distributed fake certificates. I have been tweeting about it and have also shown the proofs," Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi said.

"Those nationals are of no value and they (WFI) are just trying to showcase the power they hold. The (IOA) ad-hoc committee and RSPB (Railway Sports Promotion Board) have organised a wonderful national championship here," she added.

Asian Games gold medallist and one of the six grapplers to sit in protest at Jantar Mantar demanding arrest of former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for sexually harassing women grapplers, Vinesh Phogat, urged the government to issue guidelines to wrestlers on which tournaments to compete in and which to avoid.

"We are trying our best, we are athletes and we want the best for ourselves and other athletes. They (WFI) organised a 'national', which holds no value," said Vinesh, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist.

"The athletes should also be told about competitions, with proper guidelines about which competitions will allow them to participate in different tournaments across the world in the future.

"I want to say that there are some things that the government should clear. But, right now, what is happening here in Jaipur, I am happy about that." She requested the ministry to intervene and prevent the suspended WFI officials from complicating matters in a crucial Olympic year.

"People from the Brij Bhushan camp are complicating things, but the government should step in as it is an Olympic year and less than six months are left for the event," she added.

"I am really happy that finally the national championship is happening for the senior athletes. This being an Olympic year, we want to try to win medals for our country." The Sports Ministry had suspended the WFI after its newly-elected body made a "hasty announcement" of organising the U-15 and U-20 nationals "without giving sufficient notice to wrestlers" to prepare. PTI AS AM AM KHS KHS

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