Olympic bronze medalist boxer Vijender Singh has expressed anguish over star wrestler Sakshi Malik’s decision to retire early from the sport in protest, calling it a “black day in the history of Indian sports”.
Addressing a press meet on Friday, Singh said Malik’s retirement showed a failure of the justice system to protect accomplished athletes like her. “If this can happen with athletes who brought medals for the country, what will happen to common people?” he asked.
Malik, the only Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, announced retirement after a close aide of the former Wrestling Federation of India chief won the federation election. She had accused the outgoing chief of sexual harassment and quit in protest against the new appointment.
Singh said Malik “did not get justice from the government” in her case. He warned that her experience could discourage parents from sending their daughters to take up sports. “After this, would parents send their daughters to the stadium?” he asked.
The boxer said India could easily count its Olympic winners on fingers and then they face such atrocities. “The PM, Vice President and President should come and answer why this happened,” he demanded.
Singh said the sports fraternity across India was upset at the development. “We will go to every player, every stadium and every ‘akhada’ and speak to them about women safety and employment of athletes. We will stand with them,” he asserted.
|Vijender Singh joins Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra with a twirl of the moustache and a fist pump