Taking note of the "indigent circumstances" in which former athlete Santhi Soundarajan has been living, the Sports Ministry has sanctioned an assistance of Rs 60,500 to fund her NIS Diploma Course at the SAI Centre in Bengalore.
"Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Jitendra Singh has approved financial assistance of Rs. 60,500 from National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons to Ms. Santhi Soundarajan, former athlete, who had won a silver medal in Asian Games 2006 at Doha, which was later withdrawn, as she was not found eligible to compete in female category because of female hyperandrogenism," the Sports Ministry said on Thursday.
Soundarajan's plight came to fore after media reports appeared of her working as a daily wager at a brick kiln in Tamil Nadu.
Soundarajan later applied for a coaching course at the SAI Centre in Bangalore.
"Ms. Santhi Soundarajan has applied for pursuing a regular National Institute of Sports (NIS) Diploma in coaching at Bengaluru Centre of Sports Authority of India (SAI).
"Taking into consideration the poor financial condition of Ms. Santhi Sondarajan, assistance of Rs. 60,500 has been sanctioned to her to meet expenditure towards fee, lodging and boarding, sports kit etc for undergoing NIS Diploma Course at SAI Centre, Bengaluru," the Sports Ministry stated.
For Soundarajan, it has been a tumultuous journey so far. The middle-distance runner became the cynosure of all eyes when she won a silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
But a failed gender test a few months later, and the athlete was immediately stripped of her achievement.
Last year, the country woke up to the news of the 26-year-old slogging eight hours under scorching heat to earn a measly sum of Rs 200 per day as a labourer.
The Union government took cognisance of the matter and promised Soundarajan a seat at the NIS, Patiala even though she was banned by the Athletics Federation of India from competing in national and international competitions.
Photograph: Babu Babu / Reuters