Alappuzha (Kerala): A young girl athlete died and three others were in a serious condition after they consumed poisonous fruit here, police said on Thursday.
All these sportspersons were inmates at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) water sports centre at Vembanad lake, Alappuzha district police superintendent Suresh Kumar told IANS.
"They were all brought in a serious condition to the Alappuzha Medical college hospital, yesterday (Wednesday) night after they consumed a poisonous fruit found commonly in the state," he said.
"One of them, Aparna, passed away early Thursday, while the three others have been put in the intensive care unit of the hospital and doctors attending on them have said that nothing can be said of the condition now," Kumar added.
All of them are athletes in canoeing and kayaking. One of the girls in serious condition had won a gold medalist at the recently-held 35th National Games here.
Sources in the know of things told IANS that the girls had drank beer and this was brought to the notice of the authorities. They had admonished these girls for it.
Unhappy at being scolded by the authorities, these girls consumed the poisonous fruit.
By evening, the four girls developed uneasiness at the SAI centre, located in an island off the main land Alappuzha, and were taken to the General Hospital. After doctors found their condition serious, the girls were brought to the Medical College.
A close relative of Aparna said the four girls were under severe stress because of the mental and physical pressure put on them by the SAI authorities.
"A few days ago Aparna was hit on her back using an oar. The hostel of the SAI does not have proper safety measures for the inmates. It was a free for all, to come and go inside the hostel campus," the relative told the media.
Police are waiting for Aparna's autopsy report.
Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed his condolences and assured help to the bereaved family.
“I am deeply aggrieved by the incident that has happened in Kerala. I convey my condolences to the bereaved family. We will give all possible help to the bereaved family," Sonowal said in a statement on Thursday.
Sonowal also said that he has directed the Sports Authority of India director general Injeti Srinivas to ensure that the athletes receive adequate treatment and provide a factual report of the incident by visiting the spot.
"I pray for their speedy recovery. To provide them the best possible treatment is our top priority. I have also directed the Director General of SAI to rush to the spot and give me a factual report," he added.
The minister said that sternest action would be taken if anyone from SAI was found guilty of any wrongdoing after police investigation.