After facing a tumultuous year of protests and setbacks due to sexual harassment allegations in Indian wrestling, female athletes are now gearing up for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The BBC recently interviewed young wrestlers, including Reetika Hooda, who overcame challenges to qualify for the Games.

The turmoil began with accusations against the former wrestling federation chief, Brij Bhushan Singh, which led to widespread protests and disruptions in training schedules.

Despite these hardships, athletes like Hooda remained resilient, pushing through uncertainty and a paused competition calendar.

The protests highlighted broader issues of gender discrimination and safety within Indian sports, prompting calls for institutional reform.

The interim measures taken by India’s sports ministry included disbanding the wrestling federation and overseeing new elections, which eventually saw a change in leadership.

However, the controversy has left a lasting impact, with athletes like Sakshi Malik, a former Olympic medalist, even stepping away from the sport in protest.

Despite the challenges, young wrestlers continue to train diligently, inspired by role models like Malik. Their dedication and determination reflect a renewed hope for fairness and progress within the sport.

As they prepare for the Olympics, these athletes are focused not just on competition but also on advocating for a safer and more supportive environment for future generations of wrestlers.

(Source: BBC News)

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