The IOC’s reaction follows united world struggle‘s (UWW) criticism of the grapplers’ detention at their Jantar Mantar protest, in which the world sports body threatened to suspend the national federation if it failed to hold its election by the deadline.
LIVE UPDATES: Wrestlers Protest
The best wrestlers — Sakshi MalikVinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and Sangeeta Phogat – have accused outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexual exploitation.
“The treatment of Indian wrestling athletes over the weekend has been deeply concerning. The IOC insists that the wrestlers’ allegations are being followed up with an impartial criminal investigation in accordance with local law,” the IOC said. in the press release.
“We understand that a first step towards such a criminal investigation has been taken, but further steps must follow before concrete actions become visible. We urge that the safety and well-being of these athletes be duly taken care of. into account throughout this process and that this investigation be concluded quickly.”
Unprecedented scenes of police dragging Olympic and world championship medalists including Sakshi, Vinesh, Bajrang and Sangeeta were seen as the wrestlers and their supporters broke through the security cordon on their march to the new parliament building for the women’s “Mahapanchayat” scheduled for Sunday.
The wrestlers are calling for the arrest of Brij Bhushan for allegedly sexually harassing several female wrestlers, including a minor.
The IOC added in its statement: “From the very beginning of the allegations, the IOC has been in close contact with United World Wrestling (UWW), who have already taken action.
“The IOC supports the UWW as the competent sports authority to resolve this issue with regard to the governance of the sport of wrestling in India. We have been informed by the UWW that the President of the Indian Wrestling Federation ( WFI) is currently not supported.
“The IOC will continue to support UWW in all its efforts and within the framework of the IOC guidelines for international federations and NOCs to protect athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.”
The IOC has requested the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to take the necessary measures “to protect the athletes and ensure that the WFI elections are conducted as planned and in accordance with the regulations of the UWW as an international federation. “.
The wrestlers had called for a women’s Mahapanchayat in the new parliament building as it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Expressing disappointment at the “lack of results from investigations so far”, the UWW said on Tuesday the sports body would hold a meeting with the wrestlers to inquire about their condition and safety.
Regarding the WFI elections, the international wrestling governing body said in its statement: “…UWW will request further information on the upcoming elective general assembly from the AIO and the ad hoc committee of the WFI The 45-day deadline that was initially set to hold this elective assembly will be respected.
“Failure to do so could result in the UWW suspending the federation, thus forcing athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is recalled that UWW has already taken action in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship scheduled to New Delhi earlier this year.”
On April 27, a two-member ad hoc committee was formed to manage the day-to-day business of WFI and also organize the elections. It’s been 34 days since, leaving the body with just 11 days to hold the polls.