The tale of Dronacharya Award-winning weightlifting coach, Hansa Sharma, and her husband, GP Sharma, proves that hockey is not the only discipline to witness allegations of sexual misconduct against coaches.
Hansa was a trainee of Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach, Sharma, at the KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium in the 1980s, before she married him in 1991.
The same year, Hansa became a SAI coach and in 2000, both joined the SAI weightlifting centre at the Guru Govind Singh Sports College.
Trouble started when Sharma allegedly started to woo his trainees and brought them home, especially in the absence of Hansa, who used to travel with the national teams.
Despite the tension, Hansa managed to extricate Sharma out of trouble on a few occasions. But the latter allegedly refused to mend his ways and was caught red-handed with a trainee by Hansa.
The couple decided to part ways in 2008. "I had so many complaints against him and my repeated requests didn't make a difference, so I decided to part ways," Hansa told HT over the phone from Kashipur, where she is posted. Hansa refused to go into Sharma's "escapades" at the Sports College.
Sharma refuted the charges of sexual harassment. "The dispute with my wife was personal, but all charges of sexual harassment are baseless.
"My only mistake was that I was protecting promising weightlifters. I never did anything wrong with my trainees," he said, adding, "there were some forces, who tried to malign my reputation."
Last year, three weightlifters --- Chanchal Yadav, Mona Sinha and Geeta Tomar had lodged a complaint with the Weightlifting Federation of India against Sharma for allegedly favouring trainees Swati Singh and Shrishti Singh.
The inquiry committee found the allegations baseless. "We didn't receive a complaint about Sharma's wrongdoings. In fact, we came to know through the newspapers so we didn't take any action," said an official at the SAI Central Region.