Female wrestlers reject Sonika’s sexual harrassment charges
New Delhi: Indian female grappler Sonika Kaliraman’s recent allegations of sexual harrassment by the selection committee and coaching staff of WFI was on Monday dismissed by her own teammates, who described the charges as “baseless and “malicious”.
Sonika, a wrestler-turned-model, had recently alleged that she also had been the victim of sexual advances and said the problem is far more of corrupt federation officials who demand favours from men and women for inclusion in the team.
Daughter of wrestler Master Chandgi Ram, Sonika also moved Delhi high court over selection in Commonwealth Games.
She had claimed that the federation president had told her that he will never pick her and had demanded a hefty amount to pick her in the squad.
However, Sonika did not find support from her teammates, who stood by the federation and its officials.
“We the women wrestlers undergoing training in the coaching camp at NIS, Patiala, strongly condemn the false, baseless and malicious statements being made by woman wrestler Sonika kaliraman against the WFI, the selection commiittee and the coaching staff,” the statement given by the Female Core Group, undergoing training at NIS Patiala, said on Monday.
“The efforts made by WFI in the last three years to raise the standard of Indian Wrestling to World level have been unprecendented which is evident from the number of medals won by both men and women in international competitions,” the letter added.
The letter, signed by as many as 30 members, including Uma Devi, Alka Tomar, Babita Singh among others, supported the selection trial and termed the complainant Sonika as undisciplined, irresponsible and frustrated.
“The selection process is totally transparent and fair. There has not been a single case of sexual harrassment by the coaching staff or any federation official. The conduct of the coaches is exemplary. We request the media to verify facts from us before airing views of an undisciplined, irresponsible and frustrated woman wrestler,” the statement read.
Indian sports was recently rocked by similar controversies when a fringe female hockey player raised allegations of sexual harrassment against then chief coach MK Kaushik, who was sacked soon after.
Indian weight lifting also was plunged into a similar controversy when sydney Olympic medallist Karnam Malleswari alleged that the junior lifters were being sexually harassed by SAI coach Ramesh Malhotra.