US fencer Alen Hadzic upset at restrictions against him in Tokyo amid sexual misconduct allegations
A Team USA fencer filed a complaint with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee alleging that he would be forced into "arbitrary and unnecessary" restrictions during the Tokyo Olympics after being accused of sexual assault.
Alen Hadzic was restricted in his movements by USA Fencing in Tokyo and also lives in a hotel instead of in the Olympic Village. He has requested the restrictions be lifted before the Olympics begin with the opening ceremony on Friday, and an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to USA Today.
U.S. fencer charged with sexual misconduct
Hadzic, 29, was enlisted in June by U.S. Center for SafeSport suspended after three women alleged it committed sexual misconduct against them between 2013 and 2015, the report said.
One woman said Hadzic groped her in 2015 after she and a Columbia fencing teammate were invited to his home by Hadzic after going home one night. Another woman reported having sexual misconduct reported to Hadzic in 2013 while they were both fencing at Columbia, the report said. He was suspended for one year as part of a Title IX investigation.
"I think one case is enough to not be allowed to go to the damn Olympics," one of the women told USA Today anonymously. "You really ask yourself how far someone has to go in order not to be able to compete."
Hadzic denied the allegations against him.
"Honestly, these are falsehoods," he said via USA Today. "You just honestly are not true."
Hadzic's suspension was lifted in time to allow him to travel to Tokyo for the Olympic Games this summer. He is the men's epee replacement and will compete after the competition on Sunday if necessary.
USA Fencing's “Security Plan”
USA Fencing described the restrictions imposed on Hadzic in Japan as part of his "security plan" according to the complaint, although the organization and USOPC declined to comment.
Hadzic had to fly to Japan separately two days after his teammates and lives in a hotel about 30 minutes from the Olympic Village.
USA Fencing CEO Kris Ekeren emailed Hadzic earlier this month explaining the decision to introduce the restrictions.
"Team athletes have raised concerns about their safety and wellbeing because of your presence, which they believe could affect their mental and emotional ability to prepare and compete at the highest level required to be successful at the Olympics," says the E -Mail said about usa today. “Several have asked USA Fencing to take steps to protect them and minimize distractions from training and competition. Accordingly, USA Fencing will implement a security plan for the upcoming Olympic Games in cooperation with the USOPC. "
Hadzic's attorney Michael Palma said USA Fencing has known about these complaints for years and has never introduced such restrictions before - even if Hadzic competed around the world.
"Basically, [USA Fencing] wants to hide Mr. Hadzic and prevent him from attending the Olympic experience he has rightly earned," his lawyers wrote in the lawsuit on USA Today. "[USA Fencing] states that they need to separate Mr. Hadzic from the Olympic experience in order to increase the physical and emotional security of the parties during an investigation, to support a fair and neutral process, and to prevent retaliation from all parties."
Despite being upset and saying that the experience in Japan is not the experience I've had, Hadzic said that he was actually well received by his teammates and coaches upon his arrival.
"I didn't know what the atmosphere was going to be like until I got here, and when I actually got to the training facility, all the coaches shook hands with me and congratulated me on making the team," Hadzic said via USA Today. "All the fencers I thought would be afraid to speak to me all came up to me and said hello. Even the women."
Alen Hadzic, left, fenced in Max Heinzer from Switzerland during the individual finals at the Peter Bakonyi Men's Epee World Cup 2020 in Richmond, Canada. (Devin Manky / Getty Images)
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