Indian sprinter and gold medalist Pinki Pramanik says rape charges are a 'huge conspiracy', while medical report suggests the athlete may be intersex
An Indian gold medalist at the 2006 Asian Games has been accused of lying about her gender amid allegations that the female sprinter raped a woman.
Pinki Pramanik was charged on Monday (12 November) with raping and assaulting her female housemate in West Bengal, who claims the athlete is actually a man and broke a promise to marry her.
Indian police said results from a gender test proved she is biologically male.
However, Pramanik told New Delhi Television it is a ‘huge conspiracy’ and claims her male features are side effects of drugs which she used during her sporting career.
An earlier report by the same medical board in July found that the sports star showed ‘features of intersex’ and claimed she would be incapable of intercourse as a man, reported the Times of India.
Under current Indian law rape can only be commited by a man but the report stopped short of ruling out the charges against Pramanik.
The athlete was first arrested in June but released on bail the following month. The case sparked an outcry from campaigners who accused authorities of gender discrimination.
Her case has echoes of a 2009 incident when South African runner Caster Semenya was forced by the International Association of Athletics Federations to undergo 11 months of invasive gender testing after she was deemed too fast and too muscular to be a real woman.
Intersex people may quite naturally produce higher levels of male or female hormones than average for their identified gender.