Santhi Soundarajan, India’s silver medal winning athlete from the 2006 Asian games at Doha now holds a brick in each hand, as she goes on with her ‘new profession’ of a brick layer at a local kiln in Tamil Nadu. Soundarajan, who produced a stellar showing in the 2006 Games, now has to slog it out in the hot sun daily for a princely sum of Rs 200 to ensure her family does not go hungry everyday.
Flashback to 2006, when the Indian Athletics Federation suddenly got confused as to whether Soundarajan was ‘really a woman’. A Gender test followed for the silver medalist and the federation decided Soundarajan should be banned and stripped of glory for the indelible stain she had left on Indian athletics.
More drama was to follow as the federation felt erasing all of the athlete’s records and snatching the medal back would work wonders for Indian sport. While they did succeed in achieving their objective, it was determined that Soundarajan was not worthy of being an honorable employee of the Indian Government as she did not ‘deserve to support a family’ for bringing ‘Indian athletics into disrepute’.
So, with the federation finally succeeding in ‘Mission screw Soundarajan’, the silver medalist now only has the local brick kiln and memories of her past glory to keep her going in the future. While the federation has now ensured that another promising athlete bites the dust, it may well be remembered that a job is just what Soundarajan needs at this present moment – just a job and nothing else!