Facing allegations of sexual harassment from his players, former Indian women's hockey coach M K Kaushik found support from Dronacharya awardee boxing coach O P Bhardwaj who felt accusations against his old friend were nothing but a conspiracy.
Bhardwaj, the first Indian boxing coach to be honoured with the Dronacharya award, said he has known Kaushik for years and it was impossible to believe that the celebrated coach would sexually harass girls under him.
"I have known him for years and we have even travelled together on various multi-sport international events. The allegations against him cannot be true," Bhardwaj said.
"He is a dedicated person and from my own personal experience I can vouch for his integrity and character. I think all these allegations are just an attempt to malign him," he added.
Kaushik has resigned from the job, vowing never to come back after one of the players supported by the rest of the team, sent a signed complaint against him to the national federation.
Asked what could have prompted the entire team to go against Kaushik, Bhardwaj said the coach might have been targetted as he has been around for more than a decade.
"He is an old coach and anybody who is there for so long, generally becomes a victim of those trying to get his position. One thing is for sure, it is a conspiracy to malign him," Bhardwaj said.