Follow Us:

Women wrestlers’ camp called off over complaints of harassment

The national camp for women wrestlers was scheduled to commence at the Lucknow Sports Authority of India (SAI) Center on Wednesday.

Statesman News Service | Lucknow |

The national camp for women wrestlers slated to commence at the Lucknow Sports Authority of India (SAI) Center on Wednesday has been called off due to allegations of sexual harassment leveled against Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by veteran players including Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia.

The SAI center management also imposed a ban on the entry of the media on Thursday.

The women’s coaching camp was due to take place in the Centre with 41 wrestlers, 13 coaches and support staff from January 18.

Interestingly, the wrestlers of UP and Haryana have come face to face on the issue with players from Uttar Pradesh in the camp have taken the side of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

According to the information received from the center management on Thursday, all the players who came on Wednesday were sent back. However, sources claim that some girls are still present in the centre and they would be sent back to their homes soon.

Meanwhile,  it has been reported that an emergency meeting of Wrestling Federation Of India has been convened on January 22.

Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia and a number of wrestlers were protesting against the president and the wrestling body at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since January 18.

Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold in both Commonwealth and Asian Games, is among the wrestlers who have alleged that coaches are harassing women. She has also said that some coaches, who are “favourites of the federation”, misbehave with women coaches too. “They sexually harass girls. The WFI president has sexually harassed many girls,” she had alleged.

She alleged that after her loss in the Tokyo Olympics, the WFI president termed her as a ‘khota sikka’. “The Federation mentally tortured me. I think of ending my life every day. If anything happens to any wrestler, the WFI president will be to blame,”she charged.

Besides sexual harassment, the protesting wrestlers have accused the federation of other irregularities.

Punia, a Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, accused Braj Bhushan Singh of running the federation in a high-handed manner.