New Delhi: Risako Kawai, the accomplished wrestler from Japan who won a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics and has been crowned world champion three times, has expressed her solidarity with the Indian wrestlers who are currently protesting against the former president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Kawai has offered her support to their cause, standing with them in their efforts to bring about change within the wrestling community.
Prominent Indian wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik have gathered at the renowned Jantar Mantar in India to voice their grievances. Their primary demand is the immediate apprehension of Brij Bhushan, who stands accused of engaging in sexual harassment against seven female athletes, one of whom is a minor. The wrestlers have taken a united stance, rallying together at this symbolic location to raise awareness about the alleged misconduct and to push for justice for the affected athletes.
“I hope it will be an environment where Indian athletes can practice with peace of mind,” Kawai wrote retweeting a BBC News video on the wrestlers’ protest.
— 川井梨紗子 risako kinjo kawai (@risako_kawai) May 25, 2023
Risako Kawai, who emerged victorious in the women’s freestyle wrestling event in the 57kg weight category during the Tokyo Olympics, became the first internationally recognized wrestler to express solidarity with the Indian wrestlers who are currently engaging in protests. She is the first prominent figure from the global wrestling community to lend her support to the cause championed by the Indian athletes. Her decision to stand alongside the protesting Indian wrestlers serves as a testament to the growing movement and underscores the importance of their fight for justice and change within the sport.
Both Vinesh and Bajrang are probable medallist in this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China but for over a month they have not been practising, demanding justice for the alleged victims.
The Delhi Police have filed two FIRs — one related to the complaints of a minor wrestler under the Prevention of Child Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act — against Brij Bhushan, but a concrete step is yet to taken as the investigation is still on.
(With Inputs From PTI)