A 15-year-old athlete died and three of her fellow trainees were in critical condition yesterday after consuming poisonous fruit in an alleged suicide pact at an Indian sports institute, officials and news reports said. The girls, rowing trainees at the government-run Sports Authority of India's Centre for Water Sports in the southern state of Kerala, had left a jointly signed suicide note, SAI chief Injeti Srinivas said. The families of the teenage girls had alleged that they were "unable to bear physical and mental torture" by their seniors, charges that were denied by institute officials, broadcaster NDTV reported. The victim said she had complained about the harsh treatment but the authorities had not acted on the complaint, the report said. Srinivas refused to comment on the allegations saying a probe had been ordered. The priority was to save the girls' lives, he said, although there was no known antidote to the poison. The four girls were found unconscious on Wednesday evening in a hostel room. They were taken to hospital by the warden and a helper. "We are really shocked. The sports authority institutions are really safe for women," said Anju Bobby George, a Commonwealth champion.
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