India’s new athletic sensation Hima Das’ coach Nipon Das has been accused of sexual assault by another athlete who trained under him in Guwahati, even as the coach termed the charges “false and fabricated”.
Nipon trained the athlete at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in the Assam capital.
The woman athlete had said in her police complaint that she has been sexually assaulted by Nipon in the middle of May. The local police had filed an FIR on the complaint of the woman who is around 20-year-old and interrogated Nipon. The complaint was filed on June 22.
Nipon, who spotted and mentored Hima to a world junior championship title recently, claimed innocence.
He said the woman made “false” charges as he could not get a place for her in the Assam team for the National Inter-State Athletics Championships (June 26-29) held in Guwahati.
“This woman athlete who runs 100m and 200m trains under me and she was always after me to get her into the Assam team. I could not do that because there are other girls who are better than her. She was not included in the state team in National Inter-State Championships and that is why she filed the complaint on false and fabricated grounds,” Nipon told PTI from Guwahati.
“She could not produce any proof of her allegations. In the complaint, she said the incident happened on May 18 but she filed the complaint only on June 22. My assistant coach and some other athletes were also interrogated but all of them said they have not seen any such incident. It is all fabricated and false,” he added.
He said police investigation was going on and that he is confident of coming out clean.
“I have not been arrested by police so far. I had been taken to the police station once and I was interrogated, that is all. If I am guilty and have committed some offence I should be punished and I am ready for that but here I have not done anything wrong,” he said.
It was Nipon, who works with the state Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare, who spotted Hima during an inter-district meet late in 2016. He asked her to shift to Guwahati, 150 km from her village near Dhing in Nagoan district and convinced the youngster that she had a future in athletics.
Nipon also had his share of the spotlight in Assam after Hima won a gold medal in the 400m race at the World Junior Championships in Finland earlier this month.