Sports Ministry seeks response from WFI on allegations of sexual harassment
19 January, 2023 | Amish Mahajan
The Sports Ministry has sought an answer from the Wrestling Federation of India on the allegations of sexual exploitation of wrestlers.
The Sports Ministry has sought an answer from the Wrestling Federation of India on the allegations of sexual exploitation of wrestlers. Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian star woman wrestler to win gold medals in both Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, on Wednesday made serious allegations against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its President Brijbhushan Sharan Singh. After this, the Center has also entered this matter and, within 72 hours, has sought an answer on the entire issue.
Veteran athlete Vinesh Phogat, who has also represented India in the Olympics, said that “national coaches have molested women wrestlers over the years. Vinesh Phogat, along with top Indian wrestlers, has been protesting since Wednesday at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi and demanding the WFI president’s removal. Rio Olympic medalist wrestlers Sakshi Malik, Sarita More etc., are also involved in the protest.
Vinesh said, “We were threatened that our career would end if we spoke up. Federation members used abusive words against women wrestlers. Phogat said,” We have also approached the Prime Minister. Some coaches are close to national federations, and those coaches have exploited young girls.” Olympic bronze medalist wrestler Bajrang Punia said, “Until the WFI president is removed, we will not participate in the international competition”.
After Vinesh Phogat’s serious allegations, Indian Wrestling Federation President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has responded to the allegations. He said, “I came here as soon as I came to know that the wrestlers are protesting. Is there anyone on record who can say that the federation has exploited them?” In a press conference, he also said, “If you had such issues with the federation, why didn’t anyone raise them for ten years? Whenever rules are made, issues come up.”
He further alleged, “There is an industrialist behind this conspiracy against me. If Vinesh received death threats, why didn’t she approach the police.”