Ten years after ‘failing’ gender test, TN athlete Santhi Soundarajan gets government job offer

Santhi was appointed as permanent coach at the state sports development authority.
Ten years after ‘failing’ gender test, TN athlete Santhi Soundarajan gets government job offer
Ten years after ‘failing’ gender test, TN athlete Santhi Soundarajan gets government job offer
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Nearly two months after Tamil Nadu athlete Santhi Soundarajan was promised a permanent government job at the state sports development authority, the athlete received the job offer from the secretariat on Tuesday. 

Santhi has been appointed permanent coach by Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) and will be training athletes at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

For Santhi, the job is the culmination of her decade-long struggle that saw the 36-year-old having to return her Asian Games silver medal in 2006, after she failed a gender test.  She was diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, which is characterized by circulation of excessive testosterone in the female body.

The High Court had then intervened and asked the state government to relax norms so that Santhi could be considered for a government job. 

She has been working as a temporary coach in Nagapattinam district and had been striving for a permanent job for a long time. Thanking everyone who stood by her at trying times, Santhi said:

"I'm very happy that they have given me a job offer. I would like to thank the Tamil Nadu government and the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu. I would be coaching women athletes. I will start working from Thursday onwards."

She added that the sports minister has promised to try and get back her medals. Moreover, she is also planning to petition the court for getting back the medals.  

Sports minister K Pandiarajan said that efforts are on to ask the Sports Authority of India to give Santhi her Asian Games medal.

Gender rights activist Gopi Shankar, said, "She got the appointment at the secretariat on Tuesday. Minister Ma Foi Pandiarajan that he will initiate to get back her medals from Asian Games Council in Kuwait. We had submitted the petition to his personal assistant and they have been very helpful," ze said. 

It highlights the condition of women in sports, ze said. "It is not necessary for men to go through the test but for women it is compulsory to go through the gender test. The court of arbitration in Switzerland has suspended gender test for two years in 2015," ze said.

Gopi added that more than 150 women athletes were barred by International Association of Athletics Federations due to gender test in the last 10 years. This job will provide her financial security but her medals are her dignity, the activist said.

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