Indian heptathlete Nandini Agasara has hit back at her compatriot, who accused her of being a transgender woman after finishing behind her in fourth place at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The context: Agasara, 20, won the bronze medal in the women’s heptathlon event at the Asian Games on Sunday after finishing with a score of 5,712 points. Meanwhile, compatriot Swapna Barman, 26, finished fourth, just four points behind Agasara at 5,708 points.
Barman had high expectations in India to take home the top heptathlon award after winning the gold medal in the event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Key details: Barman later took to X, formerly Twitter, to accuse Agasara of being a transgender woman and ask for help.
“I have lost my Asian Games bronze to a transgender woman at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China,” Barman wrote in a now-deleted post. “I want my medal back as it is against the rules of our athletics. Help me and support me please.”
Maintaining her accusation: Speaking to India Today later that day, Barman pressed on with her allegations against Agasara, claiming that “It is not possible to achieve such performance in four months, everyone knows it, you must also know it,” referencing the latter’s performance, in which she achieved a personal best record.
Her response: Responding to the accusation, Agasara told India Today for a different report that she would be taking up the issue with the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). She also challenged Barman’s claims, telling the publication, “I know what I am. Ask her to show proof.”
What officials are saying: While the AFI has yet to comment about the matter, one report suggested that officials are likely to resolve the issue after the Games. The Times of India, citing sources, reported that AFI officials will be asking Barman to explain herself once she returns home.
Other details: Before the Asian Games, Agasara and Barman met at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships 2023 in June, which served as the selection trials for the athletes who will represent India at the Games.