Vinesh Phogat Bats For #MeToo Movement

The CWG and Asiad champion says she hasn’t faced sexual harassment, but believes India must do more for its women.

Olympic Sports
2 min read
Vinesh Phogat wins gold at Asian Games 2018.

Wrestling star Vinesh Phogat has backed the #MeToo movement that has swept through India, saying the country must find ways to prevent sexual harassment of women.

The reigning Commonwealth Games and Asian Games champion in the 50kg category, however, maintained she hasn’t experienced any kind of sexual harassment in her career.

“There could be such cases in sports also, I don’t know, but I have not faced such kind of harassment in my career. I also feel that my sport of wrestling should not have these kind of issues,” Phogat said during a discussion at the Ekamra Sports Literary Festival in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, 3 November.

“The women who are coming out are courageous. When you want to bring these things out in the open, many a times you will be stopped by your family, fearing your reputation will be harmed. The country should be able to deal with these kind of issues with women.”
Vinesh Phogat

Sat next to wrestling icon Yogeshwar Dutt and fellow CWG and Asiad gold medallist Bajrang Punia, Phogat also expressed agitation at being known as a cousin of Dangal wrestlers Geeta and Babita, whose story was highlighted in the Bollywood blockbuster.

“It angers me when people call me the sister of ‘Dangal’ wrestlers, the sister of the Phogats who featured in the movie Dangal. No doubt the movie put wrestling in the forefront of national awareness. But I would want a name for myself as wrestler Vinesh who has done the country proud.”

Asked if she would be interested in acting if offered a role in a sequel to Dangal, Phogat made it promptly clear where her focus lay.

“My focus is on winning a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and that is my goal. My mind is on wrestling and not on any other thing. I may think about it later on.”
Vinesh Phogat

A silver medallist at the 2018 Asian Championships in addition to her twin CWG and Asiad golds, Phogat listened intently as Yogeshwar Dutt talked about the necessity of foreign coaches in understanding the style of wrestlers from other countries.

“Foreign coaches will not give you Olympic medals, but they are important in understanding the style of foreign players. It is an advantage when you play abroad and compete outside,” she said.

“Indian coaches are important, the first coach is important, later coaches are important too. We need to know what is going on outside India, and where we need to innovate,” said the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist, who recently revealed he quit the sport in order to prepare Bajrang Punia for Olympic glory.

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