Several ace wrestlers of the country including Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Bajrang Punia, and Dahiya have levelled extremely serious charges of sexual harassment of women 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, requested the government to show the WFI president the exit door and rebuild the federation with new faces.
“The federation should be revamped and it should have Olympic medallists, CWG, and Asian Games medallists. A politician like him (Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) should not run the federation. The federation should have Arjuna awardees, Khel Ratnas, and wrestlers who have won medals for the country,” Dahiya told TimesofIndia.com.
“He has been dominating 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 wrestling activities, Bhushan is now doing what he wants. He is just like a dictator,” Dahiya added.
“I am sure these things (alleged cases of sexual assault) with young women wrestlers were going on for a long time. I got to know about these recently. But no one dared to speak up. This man threatened everyone. That’s why no one spoke up,” he said.
Female wrestler Geetika Jakhar, who has won three Asian Wrestling Championships medals, two Asian Games medals, and one Commonwealth Games medal for the country, was shell-shocked after coming to know of these allegations.
“I am really shocked. After we win the medals, we get the opportunity to meet our honourable PM Modi Ji and sports minister as well. Why didn’t we discuss and disclose this to the head of our country? Our women wrestlers should have told this to our PM and sports minister right there and then. Things wouldn’t have stretched on for this long. We kept quiet and we gave these people a long rope to stay there and continue these wrong activities,” Geetika told TimesofIndia.com.
“When I was there, nothing of this sort came up. There were many young female wrestlers but no such news came out,” she added.
‘SHOCKED TO LEARN SAKSHI WASN’T AWARE TOO’
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik is part of a five-member sexual harassment committee of the WFI. When Sakshi was questioned, she said she wasn’t aware of the harassment cases. Sakshi is currently part of the wrestlers’ protest against the WFI and its chief.
“It is a serious matter. Young girls should have approached Sakshi. If she wasn’t aware, this is something serious. We need to interview every single female athlete in person and speak with them. They have named the WFI president and they should come ahead and take the names of the coaches too,” Jakhar said.
“Keeping our mouths shut won’t help. We are giving more power and wings to these people. I am sure Modi ji and the sports minister will take strict action against these guys,” Jakhar added.
Dahiya also said he was stunned to learn about Sakshi not being aware.
“Young wrestlers should have approached her (Sakshi) and expressed themselves to her. She is a woman and has won medals for our country, especially an Olympic medal. She would have definitely listened to them and helped them,” Dahiya told TimesofIndia.com.