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‘Coach Asked Me To Sleep With Him, Threatened To End Career’: Top Cyclist to SAI

Cycling coach RK Sharma allegedly forced himself into the room of a cyclist, offered her "post-training" massage.

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Indian national team's cycling coach RK Sharma allegedly forced himself into the room of a top cyclist, offering her "post-training" massage, and stating that he "wants her to be his wife", the cyclist said, in her complaint emailed to the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

The coach also allegedly "forcefully" pulled her towards him, asking her to "sleep with him", the complainant added in her email, reported The Indian Express. The series of inappropriate behavior took place during the national team's camp in Slovenia, earlier in May.

In a statement, the SAI told:

"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."
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'Made to Share Room With Him'

“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,” the complaint stated, The Indian Express reported.

“In my state of extreme confusion and anxiousness on losing the opportunity to train abroad and attend the camp, I thought I would reach Slovenia and try to request for alternate arrangements.”

The issue was reportedly resolved on 16 May, after it was brought to the notice of a senior SAI official “who immediately organised a separate room” for her. This was done with the help of the team’s support staff, the complaint stated.

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'Threatened to Destroy Her Career'

Sharma also allegedly invited the cyclist to his room on 19 May for a “post-training massage as he assumed that my body would be tight post-training”. She added that she ignored his invitation.

When she repeatedly resisted his advances, Sharma allegedly threatened to destroy her career, and making sure "she would sell vegetables on the road", when she resisted his advances.

In the complaint, the cyclist said that when she decided to quit camp in Slovenia, Sharma called her parents and asked them to "get her married".

The Cycling Federation of India also released a statement expressing full support to the survivor.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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Topics:  Sexual Harassment   cycling 

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