Vinesh Phogat accuses Wrestling Federation president of sexual harassment - Hindustan Times
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Vinesh Phogat accuses Wrestling Federation president of sexual harassment as top wrestlers protest at Jantar Mantar

Jan 18, 2023 05:27 PM IST

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat accused the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharma of sexual harassment.

In a major development, Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat accused the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharma of sexual harassment. India's top wrestler, which also include Bajrang Punia, Sangeeta Phogat, Sonam Malik, Anshu Malik, staged a protest at Jantar Mantar against the federation's way of functioning.

Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat reacts during a press conference regarding wrestlers' protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in New Delhi(PTI)
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat reacts during a press conference regarding wrestlers' protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), in New Delhi(PTI)

“Women wrestlers have been sexually harassed at national camps by coaches and also the WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Sharma,” Vinesh Phogat was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

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“Some of the coaches appointed at national camps have been sexually harassing women Wrestlers for years. The WFI president is also involved in sexual harassment. Many young women wrestlers have complained and cried about being sexually harassed at national camps,” she added.

Earlier in the day, Vinesh in a tweet had slammed the federation, claiming the wrestlers don't find support despite putting in all the efforts.

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia in an interaction with PTI said 'Yeh ab aar paar ki ladai hai' (It's a fight to the finish)." Bajrang's support staff, including his coach Sujeet Mann and physio Anand Dubey also participated in the protest.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Sharma has been at the helm since 2011. He was elected President of WFI for the third consecutive time in February 2019.

Meanwhile, WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar had earlier noted that he was not aware about the reason behind the protest. He also mentioned that the issues will be resolved when the protesting wrestlers meet the Federation.

"Don't know what this is all about. However, we came to know from the letter to the WFI president that some wrestlers are sitting in protest. I have come to ask them about their problem," Tomar told ANI.

Tomar also claimed the protesting wrestlers didn't raise any issue with the federation. "They haven't yet told me what their grouse is. No issue has been raised with me or the Federation as yet," he added.

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