Sakshi Malik Retires from Wrestling Amid Ongoing Protest Against Sexual Harassment

Sakshi Malik Retires from Wrestling Amid Ongoing Protest Against Sexual Harassment

Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik has announced her permanent retirement from competitive wrestling, citing the ongoing protest against former Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for alleged sexual harassment. Malik, along with fellow Olympic medalists Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat, has been leading the protest for over a year, demanding Singh’s removal and arrest.

Malik’s decision to retire stems from the mental anguish she has endured during the protest. “It’s been more than a year, there is so much mental pressure and we have been trying to fight in every possible way to make this protest a success, so I’ll not be able to continue wrestling,” she said.

Despite her retirement, Malik remains committed to the cause of women’s empowerment in sports. “I got (Olympic) bronze for India and I want my juniors to get silver and gold. I would love to see each and every girl in India pursuing her dreams,” she added.

Malik, Punia, and Phogat have continued their protest even after Singh’s removal as WFI head, alleging that the new president, Sanjay Singh, is merely a figurehead and that Singh still wields significant influence. Malik’s refusal to come out of retirement rules her out of this month’s national trials for the Olympic qualifiers.

The WFI was recently granted a reprieve when the provisional suspension on it was lifted by United World Wrestling (UWW) on the condition that the protesting wrestlers would be invited for all trials and there would be no discrimination. However, Malik remains skeptical, stating, “Many people have told me to continue but I don’t want to wrestle among people like Brij Bhushan. It feels bad when you see him walking around freely. It seems he is still in control.”

Malik has personally experienced harassment and is determined to prevent others from facing similar experiences. “I have not just heard about these incidents, I have personally experienced the harassment. I have given up wrestling but youngsters are hoping that our movement will boot out people like Brij Bhushan. We have done everything we could.”

She appealed to the government to ensure that individuals associated with Singh are not allowed into wrestling’s administration. “I am once again pleading with the government to ensure that people related to him are not allowed into wrestling’s administration. I will always stay positive and I am hoping for a positive outcome,” she said.