Protests have intensified in India after a top Indian athlete accused the chief of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and other coaches of sexually harassing women wrestlers for years.
Vinesh Phogat has alleged that at least 10 woman wrestlers confessed to her that they were sexually exploited by WFI president Brij Bhushan Singh.
She made the allegations during a protest held against WFI in capital Delhi on Wednesday.
Mr Singh has denied the allegations.
But Phogat and other women athletes said they would not compete in international tournaments unless Mr Singh was removed from the post
They have also refused to call down their protest until the government addressed their concerns. On Wednesday, India’s sports ministry sought a response to the allegations from WFI within three days.
One of the most decorated women wrestlers of India, Phogat has won medals at the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games .
The 28-year-old, who belongs to a family of international female wrestlers, is also a vocal critic of the sexist attitudes towards women in sports – in 2021, she told BBC Sports how she faced sexist remarks growing up and overcame gender stereotypes to forge a successful career as a professional athlete.
At the protest held at the Jantar Mantar heritage site on Wednesday, Phogat alleged that some of the WFI coaches appointed at national training camps had been “sexually harassing women wrestlers for years”.
“They trouble us too much,” she said. “They get into our personal lives and relationships.”
“Singh is also involved in sexual harassment,” the wrestler added. “I know at least 10-12 women wrestlers who have told me about the sexual exploitation they faced at the hands of the WFI president.