Three years after he resigned as the national women’s hockey coach on charges of sexual harassment only to be absolved later, Maharaj Krishan Kaushik now feels vindicated after Hockey India nominated his name to assist Indian men’s team coach Michael Nobbs till the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Kaushik, who was a member of India’s last Olympic gold medal winning team at the 1980 Moscow Games, said the federation’s decision speaks for itself about his innocence. “I am happy that HI recommended my name for the job. The matter is now with Sports Authority of India who will take the final decision. It’s an honour for any player to coach his country, But I feel vindicated,” he said.
“It was the same federation which initiated an enquiry against me but after I was cleared of all the charges, it has now nominated my name to coach the men’s team. So it proves my innocence,” an emotional Kaushik added.
It may be recalled that Kaushik was removed from his job following allegations of sexual harassment by some members of the side. He was subsequently absolved of the charges following an enquiry by the sports ministry.
Kaushik recalled the tough period and said the controversy, which rocked Indian hockey just months before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was one of the most difficult phases of his life.
“I must say it was a tough phase because my reputation and my family’s reputation was at stake. The girls were misguided by some people who conspired against me. But the enquiry commission didn’t find anything and subsequently cleared me of all the charges,” he said.
Asked about the under-performing Nobbs, Kaushik backed the Australian and said a coach alone couldn’t change the fortunes of a team. “A coach plays a major role and Nobbs is undoubtedly under tremendous pressure but hockey is a team game. Team work is vital to the success of a side,” he insisted.
He, however, said the pressure would be high on India in the upcoming eight-nation Asia Cup which they need to win to qualify directly for the 2014 World Cup.