Hangzhou, Oct 2 (PTI) India’s Swapna Barman on Monday sparked a controversy with sensational allegations that she lost out on a bronze medal in the women’s heptathlon competition of the ongoing Asian Games to a “transgender” athlete.
Swapna, who had won the gold medal in the 2018 edition of the Asian Games in Jakarta, alleged that compatriot Nandini Agasara was ineligible to compete in the women’s event as she is a “transgender” but later deleted her post from social media.
Nandini won the bronze medal in women’s heptathlon in Hangzhou, while Swapna failed to defend her crown, settling for the fourth position on Sunday.
“I have lost my Asian Games bronze medal to a transgender woman at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China. I want my medal back as it is against the rules of athletics. Help me and support me please,” Barman tweeted.
A few hours later, she deleted the tweet even as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) refused to comment.
Nandini aggregated a total of 5712 points, a personal best. She topped the final event of the heptathlon, the 800m race, to ensure a spot on the podium, ahead of Barman.
Besides the 800m event, Nandini also won the 200m race, that earned her 936 points.
As per the rules of World Athletics, which came into effect from March 31 this year, every single athlete who has gone through what has been defined as ‘male puberty’ by World Athletics is barred from competing in female world ranking events.
Swapna, who managed 5708 points, was the defending champions in the event having won a gold at the Jakarta Games five years ago.
China’s Ninali Zheng won the gold medal in women’s heptathlon event after collecting a total of 6149 points. Ekaterina Voronina of Uzbekistan took the silver with 6056 points.
The toast of the nation in the last edition, Swapna’s one last shot at glory at the Games turned into a nightmare as she struggled with injuries to virtually go out of medal reckoning after the javelin throw event.
The defending champion, who boasts of a personal best of 52.55m in javelin throw, managed a throw of just 45.13 in the penultimate event of the gruelling competition.
Javelin throw was one of the two events Swapna had won in 2018 en route to becoming the first Indian heptathlete to win an Asian Games gold.