A female heptathlete has furiously refuted claims she is transgender after public accusations from a rival athlete.
Nandini Agasara, a 20-year-old professional athlete, won a bronze medal for India at this year’s Asian Games in the women’s heptathlon on Sunday after scoring 5712 points in the grueling event.
But her victory was spoiled by a rival, Swapna Barman, 26, who also competed for India but narrowly missed the podium after scoring 5708 points.
Barman apparently accused Asagara of being transgender in a now-deleted social media post.
Barman, who won gold at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, said in his post on in Hangzhou, China.
Nandini Agasara (pictured right) was secretly accused of being transgender by a rival athlete.
Swapna Barman (photo) narrowly missed the podium
‘I want my medal back because it goes against the rules of our athletics. Please help and support me. #protestforfairplay.’
Although the post did not directly name Asagara as the target of the allegations, the bronze medalist furiously asserted her identity as a woman in an interview with India Today, telling the magazine that she would take up the matter with the Athletics Federation of India ( AFI):
“I know what I am. Ask him to show proof. I will also show that I won the medal for India. I only want to do good for the country.
“Now we won, so people started talking about it.
I will definitely take this up with AFI. I wanted to enjoy the moment of winning the medal, but return to India because my mother is not well.
Despite the furor, Asagara’s victory was celebrated by major figures, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “India celebrates Nandini Agasara’s phenomenal bronze medal in the women’s heptathlon 800m event.
She has already won two international medals at just 20 years old
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Asagara’s bronze medal, calling her an ‘absolute champion’
“She is an absolute champion, embodying sportsmanship and excellence. Congratulations to her and good luck for the endeavors to come.
Asagara is a relatively new athlete. The bronze medal at the Asian Games is his second international medal, after winning a silver in the 100m hurdles at the World U20 Athletics Championships in 2022.
She has also won several national medals in India, winning two silver medals in two years, once in the 100m hurdles at the 2022 All India Open National Athletics Championships and the Senior Inter-State National Athletics Championships. in 2021.
The furious row comes amid a global backlash against transgender athletes, as governing bodies around the world ban them from competing under the gender with which they identify.
Earlier this year, transgender women were banned from competing in the women’s category at international athletics events.
Nandini Agasara won a gold medal for India at the Asian Games
Swapna Barman claimed “her” bronze medal was stolen by a transgender athlete in a social media post, but quickly deleted the claims.
The decision was made by World Athletics in order to “prioritize the fairness and integrity of the women’s competition before its inclusion”.
Regarding the new rules for transgender participation, Sebastian Coe, president of the governing body, said: “The World Athletics Council has taken decisive action to protect the women’s category in our sport.
“The decision taken by the council is above all a decision based on principles, namely the primordial need to protect the female category.” This is what our sport is there for.
Coe added at the time: “Many believe there is insufficient evidence that trans women do not retain advantages over biological women.
“Where there is insufficient scientific data to support continued testosterone suppression in transgender athletes, the board agreed that it must be guided by our overarching principle, which is to protect the female category.”