Several ace wrestlers in the country including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi MalikBajrang Punia and Dahiya have made extremely serious accusations of sexual harassment of female wrestlers by the WFI president and coaches.
Dahiya, who won a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships, called on the government to show the WFI president the way out and rebuild the federation with new faces.
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“The federation should be revamped and it should have Olympic medalists, CWG and Asian Games medalists. A politician like him (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should not lead the federation. The federation should have Arjuna, Khel Ratnas winners and wrestlers who have won medals for the country,” said Dahiya TimesofIndia.com.
“He dominated the federation and all the wrestlers. When Sushil Kumar was here, Bhushan was under control. Sushil is in jail right now and he is not part of any struggle activities, Bhushan now does whatever he wants. He’s like a dictator,” Dahiya added.
“I’m sure these things (allegations of sexual assault) with young female wrestlers have been going on for a long time. I found out about it recently. But no one dared to talk about it. This man threatened everyone. That’s why no one spoke,” he said.
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Wrestler Geetika Jakhar, who has won three Asian Wrestling Championships medals, two Asian Games medals and one Commonwealth Games medal for the country, was in shock after learning of the allegations.
“I’m really shocked. After winning the medals, we also have the opportunity to meet our Honorable Prime Minister Modi Ji and the Minister of Sports. Why didn’t we discuss and disclose this to the leader of our country? Our women wrestlers should have said that to our Prime Minister and Sports Minister on the spot. Things wouldn’t have lasted this long. We stayed silent and gave these people a long rope to stay there and continue these bad activities,” Geetika said. TimesofIndia.com.
“When I was there, nothing like that came out. There were a lot of young female wrestlers but no news like that came out,” she added.
“SHOCKED TO HEAR THAT SAKSHI WAS NOT SO AWARE”
Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik is part of a five-member WFI Sexual Harassment Committee. When Sakshi was questioned, she said she was unaware of the harassment cases. Sakshi is currently part of the protest of fighters against the WFI and its leader.
“It’s a serious matter. The young girls should have approached Sakshi. If she didn’t know, it’s something serious. We have to interview every female athlete in person and talk to them. They appointed the president from the WFI and they should come and take the names of the coaches too,” Jakhar said.
“Keeping your mouth shut will not help. We are giving these people more power and wings. I am sure Modi ji and the Minister of Sports will take strict action against these guys,” Jakhar added.
Dahiya also said he was stunned to learn that Sakshi was unaware.
“Young wrestlers should have approached her (Sakshi) and expressed themselves with her. She is a woman and she has won medals for our country, especially an Olympic medal. She would have certainly listened to them and helped them,” said Dahiya said. TimesofIndia.com.