Wrestlers claim they were denied entry at Feroz Shah Kotla for DC-CSK match; Delhi Police issues denial

In the backdrop of ‘Dhoni, Dhoni’ chants at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in the national capital, Indian wrestlers stood outside the stadium at the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, claiming that they were not allowed to enter and watch the IPL 2023 game between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings.

“We had come to watch the match. Five of us, with five tickets. They checked our tickets and told us they wouldn’t let us through,” said Vinesh Phogat. “They told us it would be a security issue and that they’d seat us in a VIP area. We told them, ‘No, we want to watch the game from the seats we have tickets for.’”

The trio of wrestlers — world championships medallist Vinesh, Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Bajrang Punia and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik — had arrived at the venue wearing white t-shirts that read, ‘I support wrestlers’. The group of five had as many tickets for the East Stand Ground floor which had entry between gate 8 and 10 at the Kotla. The wrestlers have resumed their protest at Jantar Mantar since a month now against the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Bajrang Punia, Rio 2016 bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and world championship medallist Vinesh Phogat outside the Arun Jaitley Stadium. (Photo: Rahul Pandey)

“At first, they didn’t give us our tickets back. We kept arguing with them, telling them that we want to watch games from our seats. Hum normal insaan hai, hum normal seat pe baith ke dekhenge (We’re normal people, we want to watch the game from normal seats). When we were returning, they stopped us again, asking to come inside. Na toh jaane de rahe, na aane de rahe (They’re neither letting us go in or leave the stadium),” she added as the group was surrounded by security personnel.


“I don’t know why they are creating an issue. We’re just wearing our white shirts to watch the game here. We’re doing nothing illegal. This is our right,” Vinesh said, following which the group left the venue.


Delhi Police, meanwhile, issued a rebuttal to the claims on Twitter.

“Some social media handles are circulating misleading news regarding wrestlers being barred from watching IPL matches. No valid ticket or pass holder has been stopped at Ferozeshah Kotla ground, everyone has been given entry through their assigned gates,” the Delhi Police handle tweeted.

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