Athletics-Winner of women's Asian Games gold accused of rape

NEW DELHI, June 15 Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:25pm IST

NEW DELHI, June 15 (Reuters) - An Indian runner who won a gold medal in the women's 4x400m relay at the 2006 Asian Games has been arrested on rape charges levelled by a woman who claims the former athlete is actually a man, Indian police said on Friday.

Pinki Pramanik was arrested on Thursday following the complaint lodged by the woman who said she was the live-in partner of the athlete, Subrata Bandopadhyay, a deputy commissioner with West Bengal police, said.

"In her complaint, the woman levelled rape charges against Pramanik. She said they have been living together for quite a while," Bandopadhyay told Reuters by phone.

Police have obtained a court order for a medical test to prove Pramanik's gender, Bandopadhyay said, even though the former athlete is opposing it.

"I have undergone numerous tests in my career as an athlete. Why should I agree to more ridiculous tests?" she was quoted as saying by Times of India newspaper.

Another 2006 Asian Games medallist, Santhi Soundarajan, was stripped of the women's 800 metres silver medal after failing a gender test and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is shocked at the possibility of a second such embarrassment.

"It's a tricky situation now and we are waiting for an official report on her medical test," AFI secretary C.K. Valson told Reuters on Friday.

"We can't take any decision unless we have the report with us."

However, Valson was not sure if Pramanik risked losing her medals even if medical tests went against her.

"I don't think she can be stripped of the medals she won six years back. A lot of physical changes can take place in those six years," Valson said by phone.

"We never had any such complaint against her when she was an active athlete and naturally there was no question of subjecting her to a gender test.

"You can't put an athlete through gender test unless and until another athlete has accused her of being a male," added the AFI official. (Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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