The parents of a female athlete accused of being transgender have insisted that she is ‘100% woman’ – and say claims that she is not are driven by a jealous rival.
Nandini Agasara, a 20-year-old pro athlete, took home a bronze medal for India at this year’s Asian Games in the women’s heptathlon earlier last week after scoring 5712 points in the gruelling event, kick starting huge controversy over her gender.
LGBTQ in sports
Her victory was soured by a rival, 26-year-old Swapna Barman who also competed for India, but narrowly missed out on the podium position while seemingly accusing Nandini of being transgender in a now-deleted social media post.
The allegation has brought into focus once again the issue of transgender athletes with Nandini’s proud parents slamming it as a ‘lie’ while maintaining that she was born female and has remained so throughout her life.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, her father Yallappa, 40 said: ‘I don’t understand why anybody would say that Nandini is transgender. She is 100% a woman, and that’s the end of the matter. Anybody questioning her gender is speaking rubbish.
‘We are very proud of her sporting achievements and this allegation is just about her rivals being jealous. We are only focusing on the positive and are celebrating her medal. We are very proud of our girl and what she’s achieved.’
‘She inherited her muscular physique from dad’
Nandini’s mother, Ayyamma, 35 fumed: ‘We don’t have time for such nonsense about Nandini being transgender. I don’t understand why people would say such things. It’s a huge thing what she’s achieved, and we are just focused on that.
‘It’s very sad that people are saying such things because life for all of us has been a struggle and this is getting overlooked by this allegation.’
Mr Agasara claimed that Nandini, 20 had inherited her muscular physique from him and was also physically strong because of the family’s poor background, resulting in her having to work since she was a child to help them make ends meet.
He runs a tea shop in the south Indian city of Hyderabad, earning around £120 per month. His wife works as a house maid, earning around £300 per month.