Gurgaon: India's sports fraternity on Thursday expressed shock at the death of a trainee at Kerala's SAI center and urged the sportspersons to show heart in fighting odds instead of resorting to such an extreme step.

One athlete died and three others were battling for life after eating a poisonous fruit under an apparent collective suicide attempt following alleged harassment by seniors. "It is extremely sad to hear the news of young girls attempting suicide," woman boxer MC Mary Kom said on the sidelines of Times of India Sports Award in Gurgaon.

"We, sportspersons, face a lot of difficulties and sweat out for the country and these incidents are a loss to their families and to Indian sports. I felt sad for the family of these girls. At the same time I am upset that they attempted suicide. I would not have done this," Mary added.

Also Read: Four SAI female athletes attempt suicide over alleged harassment, Ministry launches inquiry

Badminton star Saina Nehwal said this 'should not have happened'. "It's very sad. They must have gone through a lot of struggles and that may have prompted them go take this step but I must say we are sportsperson, we are fighters and we must keep fighting," the world number one said. "We should not be scared of anything. Problems are there on and off but we must face them. There are not enough sportspersons in the country and they should be well protected," Saina added.

Sports fraternity express shock at suicide attempt by athletesSaina Nehwal

Mary Kom said ideally the girls should have fought off the adversity, whatever it was, with bravery. "I don't know what led them to take up this extreme step but they should have fought against anybody whether coach or somebody. But I also understand that they are young girls and some may not be tough and able to handle the difficulties.

"So I feel SAI should set up anti-harassment cells at all their hostels so that they are properly counselled. The government should look after them and also their should be a support system from senior players," Mary suggested. Another badminton star P V Sindhu, two-time World Championship bronze medallist, said "it's very hard to take." "Suicide is a very big issue. I think you one should share the problems with people," she said.\

Sports fraternity express shock at suicide attempt by athletesMary Kom

India's hockey goal-keeper who hails from Kerala, said sports persons should show more courage in dealing problems. "It is very sad what has happened. Sportsmen should come up with more will power and not to resort to a suicide. Their problems shouldn't affect the mentality of their sports career. The athletes should discuss their problems with their families, elder and find a solution," he told PTI.

Pankaj Advani, country's most successful cueist, feels that system too was in some way responsible for such incidents. "It's very unfortunate incidents like these happen in our country though it's not a regular phenomenon. But when they do happen we all sort of wake up and ask all sorts of questions.

When we devise a sports policy, the athlete has to be the focus. And if athlete is not the focus then all sorts of things will happen. "The training has to be proper, the funds have to reach the athletes, the coaches must know when to push the athletes.

Unfortunately in our country, the policy is such that the athlete is not the focus of it. It's time authorities understand that athlete must the the most important ingredient of the structure," Advani told PTI.