Sexual harrasment: Sharon ready to provide emotional support, counselling to cyclist

KUALA LUMPUR: The deputy chef de mission of the Malaysian contingent to the 2023 SEA Games, Sharon Wee (pic), wants to ensure that the emotional and mental state of the female mountain biking athlete who allegedly suffered from sexual harassment are in good condition ahead of the Games.

She said that she was very disappointed and surprised by the alleged incident of sexual harassment involving the national coach, when there were only five weeks left before the Games scheduled from May 5 to 17 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia begin.

It is all the more saddening as the Youth and Sports Ministry had, just two weeks ago, launched the Safe Sports Code which includes guidance and references to the sports community on the scope of safe sports and responsibilities regarding the safety aspects of sexual harassment, bullying and violence, she said.

Sharon, a former squash player who represented the country for 20 years, said she was ready to provide counselling to athletes who were victims of sexual harassment.

"Together we need to ensure that she feels safe and has no trauma to continue to achieve success in cycling and make the country proud.

"But, at the same time, I want the athlete to be taken care of, given space, privacy and we want her to be safe.

"As a woman, a national athlete and a sports administrator, I do not agree and am against all sexual harassment in sports.

"The guilty parties should be brought to justice," she said when met after the national jetski squad's training session at Tasik Biru Kundang on Friday (March 31) night.

On Friday, the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) confirmed that they had received a report regarding a case of sexual harassment involving a mountain bike racer.

The athlete, in her 20s, lodged a police report on Thursday (March 30), claiming she was sexually harassed by her own coach while training with the team.

MNCF took immediate action to suspend the coach in question to assist in the investigation.

Commenting further, Sharon said that she is confident that MNCF and the police in collaboration with the National Sports Council, the ministry and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), will conduct a detailed investigation into the case.

Meanwhile, Sharon, who has been a national athlete since the tender age of 13, said Malaysia, especially in terms of sports, is one of the safest countries for all groups including women and children.

"But there are one or two people in this world who tarnish the safety of sports in our country. So this incident does not represent all sportsmen or society..., Malaysia is a safe country and sports is safe in Malaysia.

"What is important is that we find a solution together and create awareness that sports should be safe and carry out our respective responsibilities," she said. - Bernama

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