By Team Halabol
Published August 6th, 2012
Santhi Soundarajan has been a silver medallist at Asian Games, but was stripped of her medal because she failed a misconstrued gender test. Today Santhi is living in abject poverty, with nothing better to do than working at a brick kiln. An athlete from South Africa faced something similar, but they got their athlete justice; she even got to represent her country at this year’s Olympics. We all have wronged Santhi; none of us have a moral right to expect medals from our players!
Santhi Soundarajan did us proud in the Doha Asian Games of 2006, by winning a silver medal in the 800m race. But the game organizers later found out that she was not a “perfect” female. She was stripped of her medal, and in spite of our scientific knowhow, we remained silent at this injustice, and said nothing against draconian and scientifically inappropriate gender tests.
Santhi’s life has been a nightmare. She slogs entire day, for eight hours, in scorching sun as a daily wager at a brick kiln. She gets Rs.200, yes, that she desperately needs to support her family, but look at the irony. For medal, she wasn’t a woman, but is being awarded with the wage rate decided for women.
What South Africa Did
Caster Semenya of South Africa faced something similar, when she had to let go of the gold she won at Berlin World Championship in 2009; she failed the gender test, too. But South Africans took strongest exception to this, with entire country rallying around her in support. Not only did the the International Association of Athletics Federations revoke the ban on her, she also got to be the flag-bearer of South Africa at the London Olympics. Aren’t we Indians a hypocritical lot? For decades, we refused to play cricket with South Africa, owing to the country’s apartheid regime. What are we doing to our own people now?
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Published August 2012