One day when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, discus thrower Seema Antil asked the Indian Athletics Federation (AFI) to perform a hyperandrogenism (testosterone and other androgens) test on her. one of its Indian competitors.
Antil has alleged that there is more than what can be seen in the rapid improvement in performance of its rival in a relatively short period of time.
“Judging by her physical build and extraordinary improvement, (she) does not appear ‘normal’,” Seema wrote in her letter to various AFI officials.
Seema named the athlete in his letter, but the Indian Express does not identify him to protect his privacy.
“In my career spanning more than two decades, I have not seen such improvement in any athlete. Over the past four years, the 25-year-old has improved her performance from 12 to 14 meters, which is unusual. Therefore, I ask you to perform a hyperandrogenism test on the athlete in the interest of a level playing field, sportsmanship and meaningful competition.
Seema also claimed his rival’s coach had no experience in the discus throw event. Seema said the coach was a high jumper and had no role in the rapid improvement of the athlete.
“If the country is serious about achieving good results at the Olympics and several foreign coaches have been hired for this purpose, why are other athletes being denied the advice of the national record holder coach?
Seema said if female athletes with unusually high testosterone levels were allowed to compete unchecked, it would demoralize other female athletes and their coaches in the absence of a level playing field.
“There is a lot of anger and dissatisfaction among female athletes about competing with such athletes. Even though their voices are muted at the moment, feelings are bubbling inside. “
A former Asian Games gold medalist, Seema said she has won several laurels for the country during her career – including four Commonwealth Games medals – but has never seen an athlete, either nationally or internationally. , produce such spectacular results. Antil qualified for the Tokyo Games with a throw to 63.72m on the final day of the 60th Interstate National Track and Field Championships at the National Sports Institute here on Tuesday.
“Our senior executives, federation board members, senior and junior athletes, as well as the taxpaying public will conclude that we have abused the facilities provided as we have not been able to show such a dramatic improvement in our performance and we are not giving the best of ourselves for the country, ”she said.
Requesting a hyperandrogenism test to dispel any doubt about the athlete’s accomplishments, Seema argued that two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya and Indian sprinter Dutee Chand underwent similar tests before returning to international competition. .
Discus throw not covered by the eligibility rules?
According to World Athletics’ eligibility rules for female classification, athletes with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD) cannot compete in international races between 400 meters and one mile (restricted events) unless they reduce the level of testosterone in their blood to less than 5 nanomoles per liter for a period of six months. However, DSD athletes are free to participate in events outside of the restricted category. Discus throwing does not fall under the restricted category. It is therefore unlikely that Antil will ask the Indian Athletics Federation to test his competitor.
World Athletics claims that DSD athletes have an advantage in all events, but have the greatest advantage in restricted events due to “high levels of circulating testosterone”. The eligibility rules introduced in 2019 replaced the old hyperandrogenism rules that had been in place since 2011.