Wrestlers' protest: 4 other sexual harassment cases that rocked Indian sports

Did you know Indian sports are littered with sexual harassment cases across disciplines?


James Jose

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Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat. — Twitter
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat. — Twitter

Published: Tue 24 Jan 2023, 8:39 AM

India’s top wrestlers have alleged harassment by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), and other officials.

Three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat alleged that about 10 to 15 girls were sexually harassed during national camps by coaches, as well as the WFI president, over the past decade. Vinesh was backed up in the cause by Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik.

The wrestlers had staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, India’s capital. After receiving assurances from the Indian government that the grievances would be addressed, the wrestlers called off the protest.

This is not the first time that sexual abuse cases have rocked Indian sports.

Here we look at four other sexual harassment cases:

1. In May last year, a national-level runner in Chennai filed a sexual harassment complaint against a renowned athletics coach P Nagarajan.

The 19-year-old had alleged that P Nagarajan touched female athletes inappropriately while helping them with physiotherapy and stretching. Her complaint opened the can of worms as two months later, seven more athletes alleged sexual harassment. The coach was put behind bars and is facing charges.

2. In March last year, gymnast Aruna Budda Reddy claimed that her coach Rohit Jaiswal had not asked for her consent while videotaping her during a trial.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) had to step in after the Gymnastics Federation of India did not take any action against Jaiswal. SAI formed a three-member panel to probe the matter. Surprisingly, Jaiswal was appointed coach in India's Commonwealth Games contingent but was replaced at the last minute.

3. In June last year, Alex Ambrose, assistant coach of the Indian women's U-17 football team, was alleged to have sexually abused a minor player during a training camp in Norway.

Ambrose, who was also the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) head of scouting, was suspended and sent back from the camp. The 40-year-old former India striker denied any wrongdoing and served a legal notice to the AIFF.

4. India’s cycling head coach RK Sharma’s contract was terminated and SAI launched an investigation after a cyclist alleged sexual harassment during a training-cum-competition trip to Slovenia.

A few days after her complaint, three other cyclists also alleged harassment against Sharma.


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