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Athletes seek Manipur coach ouster

Imphal, July 28: Five girl athletes of the Sports Authority of India’s North Eastern Regional Centre at Takyelpat here met SAI authorities today and demanded expulsion of their coach O. Chaoba Singh, 50, for alleged sexual harassment, including molestation.

The SAI Coaches Welfare Association also told reporters today that it had no objection to stringent punishment for the coach.

Though the misdemeanour was going on for quite some time, it came to light recently when the girls, 14-15 years of age, wrote to SAI NERC authorities on July 24, narrating their ordeal.

They alleged that the coach had behaved indecently with them on the pretext of taking body measurements.

He allegedly asked two girls to remove their shirts at the time of measuring their body weights and declared his love for them. He also allegedly embraced another girl and tried to kiss her before declaring his love for her.

He allegedly warned them against divulging the matter.

The girls, whose practice time varied, initially kept silent but when the sexual harassment continued they spoke of the ordeal among themselves, leading to the disclosure that they were all being victimised by the coach.

Today, the athletes, other SAI NERC inmates and representatives of local clubs met senior officials of SAI at its indoor hall and discussed what action should be initiated against the coach.

Though no concrete agreement could be reached, the athletes demanded his expulsion as well as legal action against him.

They demanded a firm stand from SAI NERC on the matter. The athletes, however, did not wish to be named.

Talking to reporters at the SAI Takyelpat complex, SAI Coaches Welfare Association general secretary L. Ibomcha Singh, who is also the SAI/SAG boxing coach, said there was no question of SAI coaches shielding Chaoba Singh.

He said police investigations were on and they would abide by it.

“There is no place for Chaoba Singh in our hearts after this incident. Let him get his punishment. We are not supporting him,” he added.

He said once the matter came to light, they had met SAI NERC director Subash Basumatary after which the SAI authorities filed a complaint with Lamphel police on July 25 and wrote to the SAI director-general in New Delhi for necessary action.

Ibomcha Singh said they had forwarded the matter to the chairman of SAI’s women harassment cell and to the director, personnel, seeking Chaoba Singh’s suspension.

“We have also served an explanation notice to athletics coach O. Chaoba Singh but are yet to get a reply from him,” he added.

Basumatary could not be contacted for his comments. Chaoba Singh was not available either since he has not been coming to the SAI office since the incident came to light.