Philippines demands gender test for Indonesian volleyball player
UPDATE: The SEA Games Federation (SEAF) medical committee has rejected an appeal by the Philippines to subject Indonesian volleyball player Aprilia Santini Manganang to a gender verification test. Read the story here.
The Philippines has demanded that SEA Games organisers carry out a gender test on an Indonesian women’s volleyball player on Tuesday (June 9).
Philippines coach Roger Gorayeb singled out Indonesia’s Aprilia Santini Manganang because of her appearance and powerful physique, Filipino website inquirer.net said.
The Philippines’ delegation spokesman confirmed the request, but said she did not expect any test to be carried out before the game on Wednesday (June 10).
"After we filed it’s going to be the competition manager who will reply directly to the volleyball federation or to volleyball officials here," she told AFP.
Gender testing is highly controversial because of the psychological effects on the athlete and because the science of the process is murky and complex.
Manganang, 23, is expected to play Wednesday’s Pool B opener.
Inquirer.net quoted Gorayeb as saying: "She’s very powerful, it’s like putting a male in the female division."
He added: "Whether she plays or not, it doesn’t matter because we will be playing our best here."
While it is unknown whether authorities will grant the Philippines’ request, previous gender cases have dragged on over long periods, to the detriment of the athlete involved.
South African runner Caster Semenya, the former 800m world champion, underwent a series of humiliating tests before finally being cleared to compete.
And Indian sprinter Dutee Chand is currently fighting her ban by Indian authorities after a gender test showed up elevated levels of testosterone.
"It’s so cruel. God has made me the way I am. I don’t want to change anything and I also don’t want to give up sports," Chand, 19, told AFP last year.