Tamil Nadu athlete Santhi Soundarajan finally received a job offer from the Secretariat of the State Sports Department. The department promised her the job two months ago. She finally received the joining letter this Tuesday.
The athlete has been appointed as the permanent coach to train athletes at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. The appointment is the fruit of Santhi’s decade-long fight that also saw her returning the silver medal won at the 2006 Asian Games. She had failed a gender test and was diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, a characteristic in the female body that is caused by circulation of excessive testosterone.
The High Court asked the Tamil Nadu state government to relax the norms so that Santhi could apply for a regular government job. She worked as the coach in Nagapattinam district temporarily. However, Santhi was always striving for a permanent position.
According to a report in The News Minute, she said, “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.”
She also added that the sports minister had promised to help her get back her medals. K Pandiarajan, the sports minister, acknowledged the fact and said that efforts were being made to request the Sports Authority of India to return the Asian Games medal to Santhi.
Gopi Shankar, a gender rights activist, said, “She got the appointment at the secretariat on Tuesday. Minister Ma Foi Pandiarajan that he 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.”
She also added, “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 suspended gender test for two years in 2015.”
More than 115 women athletes have not been allowed at the Asian Games following gender tests in the last decade, according to Gopi. She opined that although the job will provide her financial security, without the medals she feels she has lost her dignity.
The Logical Indian congratulates Santhi on her new job and wishes her all the best for the future. We also thank her for setting an example of never-say-no attitude and perseverance.