PT Usha Says Wrestlers Tarnishing India’s Image: Movement Needs Support Than Intimidation

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha reprimanded wrestlers demonstrating in the nation's capital by saying protesting wrestlers are tarnishing the image of India

Aastha Dhillon
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DCW Chief Condemns PT Usha
Amid fresh protests by India's top wrestlers demanding action against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Singh, who they accused of sexual harassment, the MP on Thursday released a video message saying he would wish to embrace death as he feels helpless.

"Friends, the day I introspect on what I gained or lost, and feel that I no longer have the strength to fight; the day I feel helpless, I would wish death as I won't be living a life like that. Instead of living such a life, I would wish that death takes me in its embrace," Bhushan said in the video.

Indian wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and Bajrang Punia, among many others, continued to protest against the WFI chief, accusing him of sexual harassment and mistreatment of athletes. The Supreme Court had earlier sought a response from Delhi Police after the wrestlers’ alleged that no case was registered on their charges.

Meanwhile, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha said the wrestlers should have approached the body earlier instead of taking to the streets.

"Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has a committee to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. Instead of taking to the streets, they (the protesting wrestlers) could have come to us earlier. But they did not. This isn't good for our sports. They should have shown some discipline," Usha told reporters.

However, the IOA president's statement drew flak from the protesting wrestlers, who termed it "insensitive". She harshly reprimanded wrestlers demonstrating in the streets of the nation's capital by saying protesting wrestlers are tarnishing the image of India.

DCW Chief Condemns PT Usha's Take On Wrestlers' Protest


Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) head Swati Maliwal expressed dismay over IOA president PT Usha's comment regarding the protesting wrestlers on Thursday, saying "That's how childhood heroes lose respect."

Bajrang Punia, who later spoke to Press Trust of India,  said they did not anticipate IOA President PT Usha's rebuke; rather, anticipated her support.

PT Usha is a well-known track and field athlete who has garnered over 100 medals at competitions both domestically and abroad, including four gold medals at the Asian Games in Seoul in 1986. Last year, she received a nomination for the Upper House.

It is disheartening to see the claims from India's top wrestlers being dismayed. They are on the streets, demanding justice, and basic respect for three months now. Remarks from elite and senior players like PT Usha not only undermine the movement but also puts down the first time that top athletes had come together to speak up against alleged abuse of power.

Seven women wrestlers filed separate police complaints against Bhushan on April 21, accusing him of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation over a 10-year period from 2012 to 2022. Issuing notice, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said on Tuesday that the allegations were “serious”.

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Wrestlers Protest Against Sexual Harassment DCW Chief