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Shocked 20 SAI athletes go on leave to recover

ALAPPUZHA (Kerala): Jolted by the attempted suicide of their four young female colleagues, which led to the death of one, 20 athletes of the Sports Authority of India Centre here have taken leave to recover from the trauma.

"All the 20 are boys. Another 12 female athletes have also sought permission to go on leave," a SAI official at the Water Training Centre here told PTI.

 The students and their parents had requested SAI director general Injeti Srinivas, during his visit to the campus yesterday, that they be given the break to recover from the shock of the incident.

In a tragic turn of events early this week, a young athlete Aparna Ramabhadran died and three of her colleagues were battling for life at the Medical College Hospital here after they ate a poison fruit under an apparent suicide pact following alleged harassment by seniors at the SAI centre.

The four were undergoing training at the Water Sports Centre of the SAI here.

The official said the DG permitted those seeking leave, but asked them to rejoin at least by Friday next. The students were asked not to panic.

"You should not panic and run away from any crisis, but face it," the official, quoting the DG, said.

The official denied reports that the centre had been temporarily closed down.

"The centre is functioning. There are 55 students in the centre. Those wanting to go home would be permitted only along with their parents and after signing the register," he said.

Meanwhile, Medical Superintendent Dr Santosh Raghavan said the condition of the three athletes undergoing treatment was stable for the time being.

The external pacemaker of one of the girls has been removed, he said.

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