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SAI sacks coach on sexual harassment charge, vows strict measures

The Sports Authority of India has sacked a coach at one of its centres in Tamil Nadu after he was indicted of sexually harassing junior campers and has vowed to take preventive measures such as starting helplines to ensure safe campuses in its training institutions.

The unnamed coach, believed to be associated with state level athletics campers at one of the SAI centers in Tamil Nadu, was sacked after an internal inquiry found him guilty.

“Yes, it is correct (that we have sacked a coach). We are committed to ensuring a safe environment in sports training in SAI for women and children,” SAI Director General Neelam Kapur told agencies.

About 15 junior athletes had complained to the SAI headquarters here, alleging that the coach had sought sexual favours from them.

Acting on another incident at the SAI centre in Bengaluru, an accountant was asked to take compulsory retirement on charges of sending lewd text messages to a woman coach.

“The preventive steps will include greater awareness, helplines and sensitisation of staff and officials,” she added.

Kapur said SAI will not hesitate to take strong action against offenders who violate rules.

It is also learnt that another complaint of sexual harassment made by junior campers in a Gujarat SAI Centre is also under investigation.

There are more than 10,000 trainees across all SAI centres in India.

The SAI DG also said it will take steps to help prevent such incidents in future through awareness programmes on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

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