Sports Icons Get Behind Wrestlers

It had first become a trending topic on social media in January 2023. Over the past few days, it has come back with a vengeance – “Wrestlers Protest at Jantar Mantar.”

The saga began when the champion wrestlers of the country like Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and others took to the streets around Jantar Mantar, amidst the chilly winter breeze in New Delhi. Subhayan Chakraborty and Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, Revsportz correspondents, were there at the time to cover their protest against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president.

They demanded that he be taken into police custody, and dismissed from the federation, for the alleged sexual exploitation of women wrestlers over the past decade. Now, after three months, the wrestlers have resumed their protest on the grounds that not enough decisions were made in favour of the athletes.

In the social-media era, the protest was bound to be amplified online, as has been the case with any big issue across the world. Be it the Australian bushfires, the protests in Syria and Iran or the Ukraine War, social media has done its part to “#StandWith” the cause.
Over the past week, social media has seen thousands of posts from all across the country supporting the wrestlers, who were carrying out their training sessions on the roads near Jantar Mantar.

Sakshi Malik’s statement about ‘Police not taking the FIR where a minor was involved’ provoked a big reaction. It also drew the attention of some of the stars of Indian sports like Neeraj Chopra, Abhinav Bindra, Nikhat Zareen, and Harbhajan Singh. Movie stars like Urmila Matondkar and Sonu Sood also joined the protest on social media.

“It hurts me to see our athletes on the streets demanding justice,” tweeted Neeraj Chopra, Olympic gold medalist, in support of his fellow athletes, it went viral.


Abhinav Bindra shared his concerns about the matter, saying, “It is deeply concerning to see our athletes finding it necessary to protest on the streets.”


Virender Sehwag was also upset by the chain of events, and tweeted: “It is a matter of great sadness that our champions, who have bought laurels to the country, hoisted the flag, and brought so much happiness to all of us, have to come on the road today.”

Harbhajan Singh’s tweet came with a picture that people would want something “doosra” (else), as this was too much to handle. A picture of Vinesh, Sakshi, and Bajrang crying in the front row of the Dharna was accompanied by these words. “I am pained as a sportsperson to find pride of our country coming out to protest on the streets,” said Harbhajan.


Manoj Tiwari, former Bengal stalwart and Member of Parliament, Nikhat Zareen and Saweety Boora, recently crowned boxing world champions, Irfan Pathan, one-time India all-rounder, and Rani Rampal, women’s hockey star, have also had their say as hashtags like “#WrestersProtest” and “#IStandWithMyChampions” trend on Twitter and other platforms.

With the Supreme Court giving the order to lodge an FIR against Brij Bhushan Singh, and an ad-hoc committee formed to steer the sport through choppy waters, it remains to be seen how quickly the issue gets resolved. The sooner, the better it will be for Indian sports, with the Asian Games and Paris 2024 looming on the horizon.

Empathy over Ego – The Roadmap For Indian Wrestling

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *