Swapna Barman finished 4th in Women's Heptathlon© Screen grab
India's heptathlon athlete, Swapna Barman, couldn't defend her title in the Asian Games 2023, finishing in the 4th position, just 4 points behind fellow Indian Nandini Agasara. In the process, Nandini bagged the bronze medal in the women's heptathlon event while the defending champion Swapna had to return home empty-handed. However, Swapna triggered a controversy on social media as she claimed that the athlete that won bronze is a 'transgender', who can't participate in the event. However, Swapna later deleted her post.
Nandini aggregated a total of 5712 points, a personal best. She topped the final event of the heptathlon, the 800m race, to ensure a spot on the podium, ahead of Barman. Other than the 800m event, Nandini won the 200m race, that earned her 936 points.
Barman, the gold medal winner in the event in 2018, isn't happy with what unfolded on the track.
"I have lost my Asian Games bronze medal to a transgender woman at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China. I want my medal back as it is against the rules of our Athletics. Help me and support me please," she wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
As per the rules of World Athletics regulations which came into effect from March 31 this year, every single athlete who has gone through what has been defined as 'male puberty' by World Athletics is barred from competing in female world ranking events.
Swapna Told The Bridge, "Transgender athletes, who have testosterone levels above 2.5, cannot compete in events over 200 meters. No girl can come up in a heptathlon so fast. I have trained for 13 years in this, it is impossible that she trains for four months and gets to this level."
Athletics fans on Twitter, however, weren't too happy seeing this India vs India battle unfolding in the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Now this is Shocking!
Swapna Barman, who finished 4th in Heptathlon yesterday, saying that compatriot Nandini, who won Bronze medal, is a transgender and that this is against the rules of Athletics! https://t.co/ST6Th0mAc9
None of this should take away from the fact that Swapna Barman's own performance wasn't upto the mark…had she done better in some events this would never even have come up. https://t.co/lvqlwJmMeL— Shakya18 (@shakyamitra) October 2, 2023
Swapna Barman, who finished fourth in the Heptathlon, has alleged that her fellow Indian and Bronze winner Nandini Agasara is transgender and contends that this gives her an unfair advantage in competing in the women's event.
After winning the bronze medal, Nandini gave a special thanks to the government of India
"It is because of the support given to me by the Athletics Federation of India and the government of India that I have been able to come this far. I thank each and everyone who supported me, especially the government of India for this medal. Thank you each and everyone who supported me," she said after winning the medal.
While Swapna has already urged the authorities to help her case, it would be interesting to see how the saga unfolds considering the bronze medal-winning athlete in the event is also an Indian.
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