CHENNAI, India (AFP) — Indian 800m runner Santhi Soundarajan, who failed a gender test and was stripped of a silver medal won at the Doha Asian Games, has attempted to commit suicide, officials said Thursday.
Twenty-six-year-old Santhi apparently took a veterinary drug and was brought to hospital on Wednesday.
"Her condition is stable. Doctors have said she is out of danger but will remain there for some time for observation," Pudukottai district administrator S. J. Chiru said.
He said he did not know exactly what had driven the athlete to try to take her life amid reports of a family dispute over the 1.5 million rupees (33,500 dollars) she was awarded by the Tamil Nadu government.
Santhi lived with her poor, brick kiln worker parents and four siblings in rural south India's Pudukottai district some 350 kilometres (220 miles) from the state capital Chennai.
The state's sports secretary M. Raman, said it seemed Santhi had attempted suicide "due to personal and domestic reasons and it had nothing to do with sports or any government action."
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced she failed a sex test and implied Santhi had deceived the sporting world by competing as a woman when she was a man, effectively ending her career.
But Santhi, who returned home to live in humiliation, insisted along with her parents and coaches she had done nothing wrong.
Gender testing is controversial and the International Olympic Committee stopped the practice in 1999, but the Olympic Council of Asia continues.
Normally, women have two X chromosomes (XX) and men have an X or Y chromosome (XY) in their cells.
However, some people born with a Y chromosome develop all the physical characteristics of a woman except internal sex organs -- androgen insensitivity syndrome or AIS.
The woman might be XY but still not a man because her body never responds to the testosterone she's producing.
Seven of the eight women who tested positive for Y chromosomes during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics had AIS. They were allowed to compete.
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