Rivalry between coaches behind wrestling harassment case
New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India is yet to submit its report on the alleged sexual harassment of junior women wrestlers but a SAI official and the grapplers involved in the controversy have claimed that the incident never took place and the furore was a result of rivalry between coaches.
"It was very clear from the complaint that something was amiss. Out of the four complainants, three have withdrawn their complaint. They have stated that their signatures had been forged and that they did not accuse any coach of harassment during the camp," a SAI official said.
"The girl, who was said to be harassed by the coach, is herself not complaining and the whole matter looks like that of rivalry between coaches. The wrestlers were unnecessarily dragged into this controversy," he said.
The incident came to light when a junior girl wrestler from Haryana levelled charges of sexual harassment against her coach during a national camp in Lucknow for the under-19 team for the Asian Junior Championship in Kazakhstan from May 31 to June 3.
The wrestler filed a complaint with Sports Minister Ajay Maken on May 16 that her coach, also from Haryana, forcibly entered her room on the midnight of May 15. The complaint letter was signed by four other junior wrestlers.
The Sports Ministry asked SAI to file a report into the incident following which the body constituted a three-member committee headed by its Lucknow center regional director Rachna Govil.
SAI had barred the coach from accompanying the girls till the report was submitted.
The coaches in the middle of the controversy have been identified as Vikram Kumar, WFI treasurer Prem Nath`s son, Vishnu Das, an employee with Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Haryana and Ajit Mann Singh.
The official also said the complainants claimed that it was all done to tarnish their image and to deny them a chance to participate in future events.
"The controversy could be a result of unhealthy competition between the coaches which is sad. The report into the matter is yet to be submitted but whatever information we have gathered so far, it does not make any case," he said.
Sources in the WFI also stated that it`s an attempt to defame the federation and brought to fore the power struggle between rival factions.
"All the four girls have told the federation that nothing of this sort took place in the camp. We have done our internal inquiry and based on that we can say that it`s not a genuine complaint," a WFI official said.
Lalita, one of the wrestlers who met SAI`s inquiry committee chief Rachana Govil, stated her signature had been forged and that someone took advantage of the rivalry between her and fellow wrestler Kiran Bishnoi.
"It was a fake application that contained my signature and was submitted to the Sports Ministry. I always sign in English, and my signature on the complaint letter was in Hindi. I have unnecessarily been dragged into this," Lalita told PTI.
"There was tension between two of us. We were not on talking terms and someone took advantage of this," said Lalita, who won a bronze medal in the Kazakh tourney.
The eight-member girls` team returned after winning two gold, one silver and five bronze from the meet.