India asks female coaches to chaperone athletes after harassment claims

Top sprint team coach RK Sharma was sacked last week



By AFP

Published: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 11:40 AM

Indian sports authorities have told female coaches to chaperone women athletes on tour after a sexual harassment scandal shook the country's elite cycling community.

Top sprint team coach RK Sharma was sacked last week after an unnamed cyclist said he had attempted to "forcefully" coerce her into sex during a training camp in Slovenia.

On Wednesday, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) ordered all national sports federations to send women coaches to accompany female athletes during domestic and international travel.

"The step has been taken after recent events came to light where certain female athletes have complained against their coaches during international trips," the SAI said in a statement.

"There is an expectation, at all times, of appropriate behaviour consistent with the core values of sportsmanship and appropriate moral conduct," it added.

The cyclist whose complaint led to Sharma's sacking returned from Slovenia this month saying that the coach's behaviour left her "extremely scared for my safety, wellbeing and life".

She said Sharma had also threatened to destroy her career by having her removed from an elite sports academy and ensuring she would be left to "sell vegetables on the road".

Since Sharma's sacking, women's national cycling champion Deborah Herold has come forward to accuse him of slapping and ridiculing her.

Sharma has presided over a "toxic atmosphere" and his assistant "taunted, ignored and isolated" Herold from the rest of the cyclists, she was quoted as saying on Thursday.


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