India's Swapna Barman made a scathing attack on compatriot Nandini Agasara after the latter went on to take the women's heptathlon bronze medal on Sunday in Hangzhou. Barman, a gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, stated in a social media post that lost her medal to a 'transgender woman', an allegation that has taken social media by storm. While Nandini scored 5712 points, Barman fell short by just four points.
A day after the competition, Barman took to social media to spark a controversy alleging that she was robbed of a medal by a transgender athlete, although she did not name her competitor from the event in her post.
Although Barman didn't name anybody in her post on X (formerly Twitter), but her indication certainly aims at Nandini, who claimed her maiden Asian Games medal on debut. "I have lost my Asian Games bronze medal to a transgender women at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China," Barman posted on X.
"I want my medal back as it is against the rules of our Athletics. Help me and support me please. #protestforfairplay," she added.
Athlete Shajan Samuel replied to her X post in which he wrote, “But you knew before the event itself about Nandini, but you thought she had no chance of winning, so you kept silent. Now what is the point, she won, what you can least do is celebrate her victory after all an Indian has won, this is not expected from a champion.”
Nandini Agasara has refuted the transgender allegations made by compatriot Swapna Barman, challenging her. Asserting her identity as a woman, Agasara expressed her disappointment over the controversy marring her victory and revealed plans to take up the issue with the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).
"I know what I am. Ask her to show proof. I will also show that I have won the medal for India. I only want to do well for the country. Now we have won, so people have started talking about it. I will take up this issue with AFI for sure. I wanted to enjoy the moment of winning the medal but going back to India as my mother is not well," Nandini told India Today.
Swapna Barman, with her career hurt by a spinal injury, the six-toed Indian athlete had given retirement a hard thought last years but eventually decide at one last shot at glory and hence had arrived in Hanghzou to defend her title. This year she won the Inter-State meet and also bagged a silver medal in the build-up to the Asian Games. She also avoided surgery so as to ensure that she does not miss her training despite a bad back.