Just as headlines questioning the gender of India’s retired gold medal-winning runner Pinki Pramanik subsided, she is back in the news.
This time, Praminik, who won gold at the 2006 Asian Games and a silver medal the same year at the Commonwealth Games, may be forced to undergo tests to legally determine gender, according to a CNN report.
Pramanik’s live in girlfriend, Anamika Acharya, has filed charges of fraud and cheating, according to Rajeev Kumar, the police commissioner of Bidhannagar in West Bengal State.
Acharya has also accused Pramanik of being a man. If a medical examination establishes she is male, police could charge her with rape, Kumar said.
Police have requested a court order to compel Pramanik to take the test.
In India, the maximum sentence for cheating and fraud is three years in prison; for rape, it is seven years in prison.
It is not clear whether competitors at the Asian games and Commonwealth events would have legal recourse if tests prove Praminik lied about gender on contest applications and other documents.
A senior official at the Athletics Federation of India said no complaints had been filed as of yet that challenge Pramanik’s sexual identity.
C.K. Valson, secretary of the federation, said athletes are not required to undergo gender verification tests unless a formal complaint is filed.
"She participated in the Asian Games and other events as a woman," he said, adding that she is now retired.
The sexuality of two other athletes were challenged in the past. Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of her 2006 Asian Games silver medal after a gender test.
Soundarajan attempted suicide in 2007 but survived the incident and became a coach.
In 2009, the gender of Caster Semenya, a South African athlete, then 18, attracted attention from international media after event officials said they would test.
Semenya was cleared to compete as a woman in 2010.