Sports Authority of India (SAI) on June 8 terminated the contract of chief cycling coach R.K. Sharma, acting on a preliminary report of an inquiry committee after a female cyclist accused him of “inappropriate behaviour” during a training-cum-competition tour in Slovenia.
SAI said the inquiry committee, formed by it following the complaint, found the allegations of the female cyclist to be true.
“SAI had constituted an inquiry committee to hear the case of a national level cyclist’s complaint against a coach for inappropriate behaviour during a foreign exposure trip in Slovenia which was organised by the Cycling Federation of India. The committee has submitted its preliminary report today and prima facie the case is established and the allegations of the athlete are found to be true,” the SAI said.
“The coach who was hired on recommendation of the Cycling Federation of India had a contract with the Sports Authority of India. Following the report, SAI has terminated the contact of the coach with immediate effect,” the statement added.
SAI said the committee will continue a detailed investigation into the case and submit a final report.
The complainant was part of the Indian endurance contingent, consisting of five male and a female, that flew to Slovenia on May 15 and was scheduled to return on June 14.
SAI has already called back the cyclist, who made the allegation, to ensure her safety. It has also called back the entire contingent from Slovenia in the aftermath of the incident. The training-cum-competition trip to Slovenia was arranged to help Indian team prepare well for the Asian Track Cycling Championships, scheduled to be held in the national capital from June 18 to 22.
The female cyclist had apprised the SAI of inappropriate behaviour by coach during her stay in Slovenia and was so terrified that she feared for her life.
The matter had come to light on Monday when SAI issued a statement, saying it has called the cyclist back to ensure her safety.
The complainant claimed that the coach forced her to share a hotel room with him on the pretext that accommodation has been arranged on twin-sharing basis.
The accused coach also threatened the cyclist that he will destroy her career by having her removed from the National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) if she will not sleep with him, according to the complaint.
Fearing for her safety, the cyclist had then decided to quit the training camp.
Later on her request, SAI arranged for a separate single room for her but the coach did not take her to Germany for an event along with the other members of the contingent for putting up resistance.