ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Struggle for a Level Playing Field Continues

Protests by Wrestlers and Beyond

Ensuring a level playing field for all sportspersons, especially sportswomen, requires a radical overhaul of all sports bodies, to make them gender inclusive, transparent, democratic and accountable. The first step is to constitute the mandatory internal complaints committees and grievance redressal systems and derecognition of the sports bodies for non-compliance.

Serious allegations of sexual hara­ssment, corruption and dictatorial functioning have been made by India’s top wrestlers who ended their three-day protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi following the formation of an “oversight committee” by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to inquire into the complaints raised by them. The main target of their ire is the president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh who is also a member of Parliament representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A rare public display of collective protest by scores of award-winning wrestlers, including Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik, is not a chance occurrence but an eruption of pent-up anger against the deep-seated malaise not in the wrestling field alone but the entire sports arena. It is no coincidence that this unfolded against the backdrop of another shocking episode of alleged sexual harassment of a sportswoman who is working as a junior coach in Panchkula, Haryana while preparing for international tournaments under a special government scheme. The accused in this case is the sports minister of Haryana, Sandeep Singh, who himself is a former hockey Olympian.

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Updated On : 13th Feb, 2023
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