Whenever there's a messy issue concerning an athlete and official, Indian administrators either sweep it under the carpet or deny it happened. Usually, most athletes do not want to come on record. So how are they going to deal with this?
On Thursday evening, National women's hockey player Navneet Kaur told the Hindustan Times that she had been thrown out of the ongoing junior national camp in Lucknow after vociferously objecting to alleged advances from national goalkeeping coach A Edwards.
The Chandigarh-based Navneet said that when she made her objections public, he began discriminating against her during practice. She said on Wednesday, when she asked him why he was not giving her proper training opportunities, he questioned her character and made vulgar remarks. She said he has variously commented on her face and figure, said he hurt whenever she got hit during practice and made other inappropriate comments. She said this time, she lost her temper and asked him to "behave" and "shut up".
Navneet said she reported the matter to chief national junior coach G.S. Bhangu but instead of any help forthcoming, she was asked to leave the camp. Interestingly, the Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF) also directed Edwards to leave the camp. "I don't regret what I said," Navneet told HT from Delhi. "Any girl in my place would have reacted similarly. But instead of punishing him, I was punished for trying to protect my dignity."
She said after the incident, Bhangu handed her a letter. It states, "In the morning session whatever the episode happened between Navneet and coach A. Edwards has no concern with the team and the unparliamentary language that was used leads to indiscipline. So both of you are requested to leave the camp immediately as per the orders of IWHF."
Navneet claims she has been harassed a while. "It began in the last camp and even then, despite my complaints, no action was taken. Now they all are saying I am at fault."
Curiously, Edwards (who was cced on Navneet's letter) said neither he nor Navneet was asked to leave. "Navneet is in Lucknow and I had taken a three-day leave for some personal work." When told Navneet was in Delhi and had left the camp, he cut the call. Both Amrit Bose and Bhangu were unavailable for comment.