After a female cyclist accused chief coach R K Sharma of “inappropriate behaviour” during the training/competition trip to Slovenia, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) decided on Wednesday to recall the whole Indian cycling team. Five male and one female Indian endurance athletes travelled to Slovenia on May 15 and were due to return on June 14.
The case was brought to light on Monday when SAI released a statement claiming that a female cyclist had been summoned to assure her safety. The female cyclist had reported inappropriate behaviour by the coach to the SAI during her stay in Slovenia and was scared for her life. The complaint stated that the coach compelled her to share a hotel room with him under the guise of twin-sharing accommodations.
In her words, “I was scheduled to leave for the cycling training camp in Slovenia for the date 15 May 2022 to 14 June 2022. After all the logistical arrangements were made, to my sheer surprise and shock, three days before my scheduled travel date, I received a call from my coach R K Sharma telling me that I have to share the room at Hotel Balnea in Slovenia with him alone”. This was reported by The Indian Express.
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She also added that the coach, R K Sharma had allegedly wanted to offer her “post-training massage” telling her that her body would be “tight” after training.
Upon repeatedly rebuffing his attempts, Sharma allegedly threatened to destroy the woman athlete’s career and ensured that “she would sell vegetables on the road” if she did not comply. According to the cyclist’s allegation, Sharma called her parents and asked them to “get her married” when she chose to leave camp in Slovenia.
After the scandal came to the fore front of news, SAI issued an official statement saying, “The Sports Authority of India has received a complaint from a cyclist regarding inappropriate behaviour by a coach during a foreign exposure camp in Slovenia. The coach was appointed on the recommendation of the Cycling Federation of India. Following the compliant by the athlete, SAI has immediately brought her back to India to ensure her safety and has also constituted a committee to investigate the matter. The matter is being dealt on priority and will be resolved shortly.”
The Cycling Federation of India has also expressed their concern over the matter and extended their support via an official statement.
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