The recent suspension and subsequent reinstatement of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was an embarrassing and disgraceful episode, but it was nothing new for the average Indian sports fan. Sport in India has seen more than its fair share of scandals and controversies over the years. Here’s our pick of the top 10 biggest scandals that have hit Indian sport:
10. The Pinki Pramanik scandal
In what was to be a first-of-its-kind scandal in Indian sports, in June 2012, police in India arrested a woman athlete on allegations of rape and charges that she is actually male. Pinki Pramanik, a middle distance runner and an Asian Games gold medallist, was arrested on June 14 on a rape and assault complaint by her live-in partner. Pinki was charged under sections 376 (rape), 417 (impersonation), 420 (cheating), 325 (assault) and 506 (intimidation), 493 (cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of a lawful marriage).
Pinki’s live-in partner complained to the authorities that Pinki was a male and that she was sexually assaulted by Pinki, which led to the latter’s arrest. On being asked to be tested for further investigations, The Times of India quoted her as saying, “I have undergone numerous tests in my career as an athlete. Why should I agree to more ridiculous tests?”
Pinki, who won the 4×400 m relay gold in 2006 Doha Asian Games, was arrested on 4th June 2012.
The athlete’s arrest and imprisonment sparked an outcry over gender discrimination and the manner in which gender tests were conducted. Quoting the test report, additional public prosecutor Shantamoy Bose said Pinki was “capable of having intercourse as a normal male and had all the facets required for sexual activities.”
Experts said they were not surprised by the findings of the chromosome (DNA) test. Pinki’s aggression and a tendency to lapse into a fit of rage suggested she suffered from a condition known as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplacia (CAH), they said. The condition is classified as a form of Disorder of Sexual Differentiation (DSD) and leads females to develop male physical attributes and behaviour. CAH patients were also likely to suffer from depression or euphoria.
DSD is genetic and the first symptoms could be evident in a child as early as three years to four years. Psychological repercussions follow soon since a child needs to have a sexual identity by the time he or she is five years old.
Pinki was released on bail on July 11 pending disposal of all cases.
9. The hockey sex scandal
Hockey in India has had many a turbulent phase over issues as wide-ranging as non-payment of dues and incentives, mistreatment of players and bribery, but the incident that shamed the entire country was the sex scandal that rocked Indian women’s hockey in July 2010. The incident came to light after a senior hockey player wrote a complaint to the authorities alleging that one of the coaching staff had asked for sexual favours and used vulgar language during a tour to Canada and China.
“A woman team member has mailed me a written complaint of sexual harassment, usage of vulgar language, and asking for sexual favours against a coaching staff,” Hockey India (HI) general secretary Narendra Batra said.
The anonymous mail also accused the videographer of the Indian team of indulging in a sexual orgy with prostitutes during the foreign tour, Batra informed, adding that five photographs of the videographer with the prostitutes had also been mailed to him. The main accused was the coach of the Indian women’s hockey team, M. K. Kaushik, who was also a part of the 1980 Indian team that won an Olympic gold.
The matter gained more attention as the issuer of the complaint was revealed to be TS Ranjitha, and several other players came forward and complained against Mr. Kaushik. He soon resigned from the coach’s position. The case is still ongoing in courts. Why am I not surprised?