Neeraj Chopra and Abhinav Bindra, both Olympic gold medalists, have shown solidarity with the protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and have urged the authorities to take immediate action in order to ensure that justice is delivered.
The reaction of these star sportspersons comes at a time when Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha criticized wrestlers for taking to the streets instead of registering their complaint against BJP MP and Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Chopra, a javelin thrower who created history by winning India’s first Olympic gold medal in athletics, said it was hurtful that wrestlers were forced to hit the road for justice.
He tweeted, “It saddens me to see our players on the streets demanding justice. He has worked hard to represent our great nation and make us proud. As a nation, we are responsible for protecting the integrity and dignity of every individual, be it a sportsperson or anyone else. What is happening should never have happened.”
Chopra said, “This is a sensitive issue, and it should be dealt with in a fair and transparent manner. The concerned authorities should take prompt action to ensure justice.”
Also read: “Are You Afraid of System?”: Vinesh Phogat Slams Cricketers and Athletes for Silence on Protest
The protesting wrestlers have now received the backing of two Olympic gold medalists from India. Abhinav Bindra, who secured the gold medal in shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also recently conveyed his support to the wrestlers.
Bindra had tweeted, “As sportspersons we work hard every day to represent our country at the international level. It is very sad to see that our players are finding it necessary to protest on the streets against the allegations of harassment in the Indian wrestling administration.
Other sportspersons who have supported the wrestlers’ protest include legendary cricketer Kapil Dev and Shiva Keshavan, who represented the country six times in the Winter Olympics.