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Indian female athlete in gender row after rape arrest

KOLKATA, India, June 15- A female Indian athlete who has been charged with raping her live-in partner has defended herself against claims that she is actually a man.

Pinki Pramanik, who won a 4x400m relay gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games, was arrested late on Thursday and taken to Baguiati police station in the northwest of Kolkata.

Police said her partner had accused her of repeated rape and of being male, and that Pramanik had refused to take a medical examination at a government hospital.

“I have undergone numerous tests in my career as an athlete,” Pramanik was quoted as saying in Friday’s Times of India. “Why should I agree to more ridiculous tests?”

Prabir Roy, the duty officer at the Baguiati police station, told AFP that Pramanik was remanded in custody on rape charges and would appear in court later Friday.

“She was arrested and taken to a government-run hospital, but she refused to sit for a medical test,” Roy said. “A woman had lodged a complaint of rape with the police station.”

Police said that Pramanik had lived with her partner in Kolkata for several months, and that her partner also accused her of retracting a promise to marry her.

Pramanik, 26, who also won a silver relay medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, retired from athletics in 2007.

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“We don’t know whether it was a case of being male physically or hormonal change over a period of time which can happen,” Athletics Federation of India secretary C.K. Valson told the Press Trust of India news agency.

“We have to wait for the medical report and conclusion of the case.”

South African athlete Caster Semenya won the women’s 800m world championships in 2009 but was then sidelined for 11 months during a probe into her gender.

She was cleared to compete and is a gold medal prospect at the London Olympics.

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