Asian Games women’s heptathlon loser accuses medal winner of being trans

Nandini Agasara came in third place at this year's Asian Games Heptathlon.

Heptathlete Nandini Agasara’s bronze medal win at this year’s Asian Games was overshadowed by unfounded accusations against her from fellow athlete Swapna Barman.

The young Indian athlete achieved her personal best at 5712 points during Monday’s (2 October) heptathlon in China.

Coming just behind Agasara was her compatriot Barman at 5708 points.

Coming into the Asian Games, Barman was India’s big medal contender and was expected to score higher than Agasara.

Nandini Agasara came in third place at this year's Asian Games Heptathlon.
Agasara was accused of being transgender after taking home a bronze medal for India. (Getty Images)

After learning that she had narrowly missed out on the bronze, Barman, who won the gold at the 2018 Asian Games, accused Agasara of being trans and ineligible to compete.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter) to air out her grievances, Barman told her followers: “I have lost my Asian Games medal to a transgender woman at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China

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“I want my medal back as it is against the rules of our athletics. Help me and support me please.”

The tweet, seen by The Times of India, has since been deleted but sparked major controversy before it was removed.

In an interview with India Today, Barman reiterated her claims, suggesting that Agasara’s sudden improved performance would not be possible in the space of just four months.

“One thing is that I have been practicing for 13 years, I have learned how much performance I have achieved by practicing a lot,” she said.

“It is not possible to achieve such performance in 4 months, everyone knows it.”

Now, Agasara has responded to Barman’s allegations, expressing her disappointment that the baseless claims had overshadowed her victory.

Swapna Barman made the accusation against Agasara.
Swapna Barman made the accusation after coming in fourth place. (Getty Images)

In a statement to India Today, Agasara said: “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 the AFI (Athletics Federation of India) for sure. 

“I wanted to enjoy the moment of winning the medal but going back to India as my mother is not well.”

In a separate statement for Times of India, Agasara questioned why her opponent waited until after the Asian Games to accuse her of being trans.

“I doubt the timing of her allegations. Why didn’t she make the accusations earlier?” she asked.

“It’s only when I won the bronze because of my sheer hard work and dedication that she came up with this transgender thing. This is so unfair.

“I thank the government and my federation for standing behind me and supporting me.”

The AFI has made no official response to Barman’s claims as of yet.