The parents of a female athlete accused of being transgender have insisted that their daughter is ‘100% woman’ while slamming her “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 this week after scoring 5712 points in the event, spraking huge controversy over her gender.
Her victory infuriated 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.
Barman, who took gold at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, said in her post to X, formerly Twitter: ‘I have lost my Asian Games bronze medal to transgender women at the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China.’
Nandini’s proud parents slammed her claim 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.’
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.
The couple live in a small, one-bedroom house in a poor part of the city with Nandini and her two brothers.
Mr Agasara said: ‘We are from a very poor family and life has always been very hard for us. Since she was a child, Nandini has been working alongside her mother as a maid, lifting heavy things, washing clothes and doing a lot of physical work. It’s made her big and strong.
‘I’m also quite muscular and big and she’s inherited those genes from me. But she’s still a woman, she looks like a woman and the world knows that she’s a woman.’
Nandini returned from China to her home in Hyderabad on Tuesday, where a celebration party was held in her honour with friends and family in attendance.
She told MailOnline: ‘You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. You shouldn’t judge a person by their looks.
‘I played with dolls when I was a girl and I wear saris and other traditional Indian female clothes when I attend weddings or religious occasions. I am tall and strong compared to many women but that’s because of all the physical work that I’ve had to do throughout my life to help my family.
‘When poor people achieve anything then there is always a lot of jealousy, and somebody will try to pull you down. That’s what this allegation is all about but I’m not focusing on it too much.’