Shanti Soundarrajan, who was stripped of the silver medal she won in the 800m event at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha after she failed a gender test, has been appointed as permanent coach by the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT). She received the appointment order from the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs K Pandiyarajan on Tuesday.
Confirming her appointment, Shanti told Express, “ Yes, I have been given a permanent athlete coach job in Chennai and I received the order from the minister at the Secretariat on Tuesday. I will take charge on Wednesday”.
A native of Kaththakuruchi in Pudukkottai, Shanthi drew media attention four years ago when she was spotted working in a brick kiln to support her family. Following this, the Sports Ministry enrolled her for the one-year National Institute of Sports diploma course in sports coaching at Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bangalore in 2013.
After completing the course, Shanti was posted in Sports Authority of India (SAI) Special Area Games (SAG) near Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam district and made a coach at on contract since July, 2014. In the last two years, she approached the sports ministries of Union and State governments seeking permanent coaching job.
Santhi was born in 1981. Her parents were brick-kiln labourers and she is the eldest of their five children. She overcame malnutrition as a child to become a middle-distance runner.
She is the winner of 11 international medals for India and around 50 medals for her home state Tamil Nadu. Shanti is the first Tamil woman to win a medal at the Asian Games.
She won a silver medal in the women’s 800m race at the 2006 Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar clocking two minutes, 3.16 seconds. However, she underwent a sex test shortly afterwards, in which she failed. Soon after the results of the sex test came out, she was stripped of her silver medal.