Wrestlers protest abuse by officials

AOn the mat, Sangita Phogat won many medals. Even a Bollywood movie has been made about his family which produced several famous wrestlers. But now she faces a completely different challenge. “It’s a fight, but no matter how hard it gets, we’ll keep going,” the 25-year-old told FAZ. Along with 14 other wrestlers, Phogat has been holding out for almost fourteen days in a protest tent in the center of India’s capital New Delhi. Their goal: that the powerful boss of the Indian wrestling federation Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Singh, who has been accused of sexual abuse by at least seven wrestlers, receives his just punishment.

The sports official, who is also an MP for the ruling Bharatiya Janata party, categorically denies the allegations. The women also don’t want to talk about the details publicly, says Sakshi Malik, 30, also a successful wrestler: “It’s all confidential.” Some allusions are given behind closed doors and some have also made their way into the press: the young wrestlers were chased out of a training camp by the official’s driver late at night. Some later reported sexual abuse in the bungalow of the official who controlled the sport. There would also have been attacks during national and international competitions. The athletes also accuse him of “psychological abuse and torture”.

Rosemary Rowse

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