Nearly two months after Tamil Nadu athlete Santhi Soundarajan was promised a permanent government job at the State Sports Development Authority, the athlete received the job offer from the secretariat on Tuesday.
Santhi has been appointed as a permanent coach by Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) and will be training athletes at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.
For Santhi, the job is the culmination of her decade-long struggle that saw the 36-year-old having to return her Asian Games silver medal in 2006, after she failed a gender test. She was diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, which is characterised by the circulation of excessive testosterone in the female body.
The High Court had then intervened and asked the state government to relax norms so that Santhi could be considered for a government job.
She has been working as a temporary coach in Nagapattinam district and had been striving for a permanent job for a long time.
I’m very happy that they have given me a job offer. I would like to thank the Tamil Nadu government and the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu. I would be coaching women athletes. I will start working from Thursday onwards.Santhi Soundarajan
She is also planning to file a petition in the court for getting back her medals.
The job will provide her financial security but her medals are her dignity, a gender rights activist said.
Sports minister K Pandiarajan said that efforts are on to ask the Sports Authority of India to give Santhi her Asian Games medal.
She got the appointment at the secretariat on Tuesday. Minister Ma Foi Pandiarajan will initiate to get back her medals from Asian Games Council in Kuwait. We had submitted the petition to his personal assistant and they have been very helpful.Gopi Shankar, Gender Rights Activist
Mandatory Gender Test For Women Athletes
Stressing the bias of gender tests, Gopi said, “It is not necessary for men to go through the test but for women it is compulsory to go through the gender test. The court of arbitration in Switzerland has suspended gender test for two years in 2015”
Gopi added that more than 150 women athletes were barred by International Association of Athletics Federations due to gender test in the last 10 years.