Shanti fails Doha gender test - Athlete to be stripped of silver medal

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 18.12.06
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New Delhi:Controversies do not seem to be deserting Indian athletics.

If it was Seema Antil’s withdrawal from Doha-bound athletics squad just days before their arrival at the venue, there is now more to chew on post-Asian Games.

S. Shanti — who won the 800m silver medal in the Asian Games — has failed the gender test, according to Athletic Federation of India (AFI) sources.

The AFI later gave Antil a clean chit after having set up a fast-track panel, but the discus thrower opted out of the Asian Games citing mental stress. Now it remains to be seen how the federation handles this latest setback.

Shanti has apparently failed the gender test in Doha itself and was asked to proceed to India. Federation sources said that was the primary reason for withdrawing her from the 1500m later.

Dr ManMohan Singh, chairman of the Indian Olympic Association’s medical commission, was quoted by a news agency as saying that “Shanti was subjected to a gender test after the 800m final and she has failed.”

The official, however, maintained that the middle-distance runner had cleared gender tests during the Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon City, South Korea, where she won the 800m silver and the nationals last year.

Shanti, the 25-year-old from Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, clocked 2:03.16 to pip Viktoriya Yalovtseva of Kazakhstan by 0.03 seconds in the 800m. The Indian will now have to return the medal and the bronze winner Yalovtseva will get the silver.

AFI secretary Lalit Bhanot has refused to comment on the issue saying he has no official information.

It may be recalled that Shanti went to Doha with the accolade of being declared the best athlete at the National Open Championship at New Delhi (in September) behind her. She also won the 1500m gold medal at the South Asian Games in Colombo.

Shanti is slated to be honoured by the Tamil Nadu government along with other Games medal winners — Anju Bobby George, K. Sasikiran and Saurav Ghosal — in Chennai on Monday. A cash award of Rs 15 lakh is also supposed to be presented to her.