Fall From Grace
Last Updated : Wednesday 10 Jan, 2007
She should have been home with her brick-kiln working parents and four siblings in rural South India celebrating her moment of glory at the Asian Games. Instead, Santhi Soundarajan has been reduced to leading a life of public humiliation amid uncaring and insensitive officials, shattered by the fact that her sporting career is almost certainly over.
The Olympic Council of Asia stripped Santhi of the silver medal she won in the 800m in Qatar, saying she had been “disqualified as per the recommendations of the medical committee on a Games rule violation.”
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said the 25-year-old had failed a sex test, implying she had deceived the sporting world by competing as a woman when she is actually a man.
Test reports sent to the IOA said Soundarajan “does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman.” The test was administered by a medical commission set up by the Games’ organisers.
An IOA investigation is ongoing even as Santhi, her parents and coaches insist she had done nothing wrong.
“I do not understand what is going on?,” pleads Santhi. “What am I being blamed for? Will I be able to run again?”
It may also be pertinent to ask if a “gender test” is as simple as it sounds?
“No. No one can say if a person is a man or a woman just by looking at his or her genitalia,” said a gynaecologist.
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