Santhi set to rebuild life as official athletic coach

Runner lost Asiad medal after gender test a decade ago, but Tamil Nadu opens new door for 35-year-old

October 17, 2016 02:59 am | Updated December 01, 2016 06:28 pm IST - MADURAI:

After a decade-long struggle, athlete Santhi Soundarajan, who was stripped of her silver medal won at the 2006 Asian Games because she failed a controversial gender test, is all set to get a permanent job as a coach with the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.

The State government has decided to appoint the runner as an athletic coach and her salary will be a minimum of Rs. 30,000 along with benefits, although the location of her posting is yet to be decided, sources in the Department of Sports and Youth Welfare said.

Santhi told The Hindu that she was surprised and delighted when she received a call from the Department on Sunday, informing her that she would get her appointment order in few days.

The 35-year old from Kathakurichi in Pudukottai district, works as a temporary coach in Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) facility in Mayiladuthurai. After a troubled phase when she worked in a brick kiln in her home district, she could enrol in a SAI training course.

M. Gopi Shankar, a Madurai-based gender rights activist assisting Santhi said that the fight would continue until she gets back her medal, as the gender test was unscientific. Last year, the Madras High Court asked the State government to consider her plea for a permanent job.

Tamil Nadu Sports Minister K. Pandiarajan said the State will plead her case with the International Court of Arbitration for Sport. “In parallel, we will write to SAI, Indian Olympic Association and Athletics Federation of India to take up Santhi’s case in that forum,” he said. “It is not just about getting back the medal but also restoring Santhi’s dignity. The State government will do everything possible to get her justice,” the Minister said. The National Commission for SCs recently took up her case with the Department of Sports.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.