April 4, 2018 / 12:00 AM / 6 months ago

Commonwealth Games - Sexual assault complaint casts pall over Mauritius team

GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Queensland police have launched a criminal investigation into an allegation that the Mauritian team chef de mission sexually assaulted one of the delegation’s athletes at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The Mauritian sports ministry confirmed on Wednesday that chef de mission Kaysee Teeroovengadum had stepped down from his role at the April 4-15 Games after it was alleged he had sexually assaulted women’s javelin thrower Jessika Selma Rosun.

The allegation overshadowed the Games on the day of the opening ceremony.

“The Queensland police service is currently investigating a complaint in relation to an allegation of an assault of an aggravated nature involving an athlete and an official from the Mauritius team,” Queensland Police deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters earlier on Wednesday.

“We are giving it absolute priority and anticipate being able to resolve the issue over the coming days.”

Teeroovengadum, who is also assistant secretary general of the island nation’s Olympic committee, had resigned from his chef de mission role after Mauritius sports minister Stephan Toussaint told him to step down, the ministry’s press attache Fabien Hector told Reuters.

He had left the athletes’ village and was not participating in the parade of nations at the opening ceremony, but he would remain in the Gold Coast because of the investigation, Hector said.

Richard Papie, a vice-president of the national Olympic committee, had taken over his duties.

“The Mauritian government is looking into the matter and following the issue with the Australian authority with great seriousness,” Hector said.

Hector added that Rosun had told the sports minister she was determined to compete despite the investigation playing out.

“She is ok, she is a fighter,” he said.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg said he was confident the “right safeguards” were in place to protect athletes during a morning media briefing on earlier on Wednesday.

“There is absolutely, again, similar to cheating, zero tolerance for ... abusive behaviour of any nature,” he told reporters. “There’s just no place for that at the Commonwealth Games.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford/Amlan Chakraborty

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