New Delhi: Indian wrestler and Commonwealth Games medalist Vinesh Phogat on Wednesday said that she knows about 10-20 accounts of sexual harassment that women wrestlers faced, in which many coaches and referees are involved.
Her statement comes on the day when Olympians Bajrang Punia, Sakshee Malikkh and Phogat led the protest at Jantar Mantar against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), alleging “harassment of wrestlers by the WFI through its arbitrary rules and regulations”.
“I know about 10-20 accounts of sexual harassment faced by women wrestlers. Many coaches and referees have been involved. We will sit on protest until those guilty are not punished. No athlete will participate in any event,” Phogat told.
Phogat later told the media that all the evidence will be presented when the high court will direct them. “We are also ready to submit all evidence to the Prime Minister,” she added.
Bajrang Punia, the Olympic-winning wrestler said that the federation should be changed.
“The girls here are from respectable families. If our sisters and daughters are not safe here then we cannot accept it. We demand that the federation be changed,” said Punia.
Sakshee Malikkh also said that the whole federation should be removed so that the future of new wrestlers is safe.
“A new federation should come into existence. Dirt has spread from the lower level. We will speak to Prime Minister and Home Minister and reveal details. The investigation must be done on some matters,” said Sakshee.
Notably, Phogat on Wednesday alleged that coaches who are favourites of the Wrestling Federation of India, misbehave with women and harass them. She also accused the wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls and calling her a ‘khota sikka’ after her defeat at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
On the sidelines of a sit-in protest against the near Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, Phogat said, “Coaches are harassing women and some coaches, who are favourites of the Federation, misbehave with women coaches as well. They sexually harass girls. The WFI president has sexually harassed many girls.”