Indian runner fails gender test, loses medal

Updated: December 18, 2006, 1:27 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW DELHI, India -- An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games failed a gender test and was stripped of the medal.

Shanti Sounderajan, 25, took the gender test in Doha, Qatar, after placing second.

Santhi Soundarajan
AP Photo/M. LakshmanIndian runner Santhi Soundarajan, who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games, failed a gender test.

The test reports sent to the Indian Olympic Association on Sunday said Soudarajan "does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman," The Times of India reported. The test was administered by a medical commission set up by the games' organizers.

The Indian Olympic Association said Monday it has been told by the Olympic Council of Asia that the 25-year-old runner was disqualified.

"IOA has asked the Athletic Federation of India to return the medal as desired by the Olympic Council of Asia," the Indian Olympic group said.

The IOA also asked its medical commission to inquire into Sounderajan's case and report within 10 days.

There are no compulsory gender tests during events sanctioned by track and field's international ruling body, but athletes may be asked to take a gender test. The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist and internal medicine specialist.

An Indian athletics official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media said Sounderajan almost certainly never had sex-change surgery.

Instead, the official said Sounderajan appeared to have "abnormal chromosomes." The official also said the test revealed more Y chromosomes than allowed.

Sounderajan was not immediately available for comment.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press