Sport

Ace table tennis player Ghosh back after marrying rape accuser

Two-time Olympian was accused of rape by an 18-year-old in March and now he's married to her

New Delhi: His life thrown haywire by a rape allegation, leading Indian table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh has married his accuser four months after his career nose-dived owing to the crisis. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the 25-year-old in the year he attained a career-high 58th in the International Table Tennis Federation rankings.

In March, he was accused for rape by an 18-year-old, that led to the two-time Olympian and India’s youngest ever national champion hitting “rock bottom”. Four months on, he has not even felt the racket in his hand, is heavier by more than 10 kgs and is a married man.

‘Nobody thought about me’

“They say a sportsperson in India has to go through a lot to achieve something. The grind prepares you for the worst but what happened with me four months ago hit me hard and hit me out of nowhere. I did not know how to deal with it,” Ghosh said.

“Everyone thought about the girl. That she was young. I was young too. If she was a minor, I was 22 when we started dating. I am still young. Having said that, there is no point looking back. I rather look ahead. Hope my court case is over soon and I get back to training,” said the skilful player.

Stayed in 3-4 countries after FIR

Ghosh was playing in Germany in March when he heard about the FIR filed against him by the teenager in Barasat, West Bengal. Fearing arrest on arrival in India, he chose to stay back in Europe and stayed in “three-four different countries” before returning home in May.

“It was only during that time, I found out who were actually my well-wishers. I was devastated. I was at the peak of my career, playing for a good club in Germany and then something like this happens. I would not name them yet but I survived that phase because of just two people and my parents of course,” he said.

‘Sharath Bhai’s call helped’

“TTFI, the players were all there for me. All was going wrong but their support kept me going. After CWG, the team went to World Championship straight and lost a close match to Croatia. Sharath bhai called me and told me ‘we would have won today if you were around’. It made me feel that I was still needed,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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