Runner’s gender questioned

The gender of an athlete who won a women’s relay gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games has been called into question following rape allegations made by another woman.

Pinki Pramanik is alleged to have raped a woman she was living with in the eastern state of West Bengal. The woman alleged that Pramanik was a man and had promised to marry her but later refused to do so.

Pramanik appeared in a local court on Friday and was given a 14-day judicial custody order.

"Magistrate Ishani Chakrobarty has ordered that the athlete be taken into judicial custody for a period of 14 days," Assistant Public Prosecutor Bikas Dey said. "The court also ordered that a medical committee be formed to ascertain the sex of the athlete, but no deadline has been set."

Pramanik had been arrested on Thursday following the rape allegations.

"We arrested her after a woman she has been staying with for several months complained that Pramanik was a male and had raped her," Deputy Commissioner of Police Subrata Bandyopadhyay told The Associated Press by phone. "We arrested the athlete and approached the court to seek permission for medical tests to determine the gender of the athlete."

But Pramanik was reportedly reluctant to undergo the tests.

"I have undergone numerous tests in my career as an athlete," 26-year-old Pramanik was quoted as saying by The Times of India. "Why should I agree to more ridiculous tests?"

The Athletics Federation of India said it was unlikely that Pramanik would be asked to return her medals.

"She retired three years ago and all of a sudden we hear all this. I don’t know what can be done by us because I don’t think she can be asked to return medals that she won six years ago," AFI secretary C.K. Valson told the AP on phone.

Another Indian medalist at the 2006 Asian Games, Santhi Soundarajan, was stripped of the women’s 800 meters silver medal after failing a gender test shortly after the games.