From lording over athletics tracks spanning 400 metres, Asian gold medallist Pinki Pramanik's movements have largely been confined to a 12 by 8 feet cell at Dum Dum central jail - in the male ward for the last eight days.
A day before a medical board of the state-run SSKM Hospital decides what gender determination tests Pramanik must take, the 26-year-old athlete was let out of the cell for the first time on Sunday.
Police detained Pramanik, who had won gold in the 400 metres relay for women at the 2006 Asian Games, on June 14 after a woman accused the athlete of being male and raping her after promising marriage.
On court orders three days later, Pramanik was brought to the jail, where authorities decided that an isolated cell (block 7) in the male ward was the best option to keep the athlete.
This decision has left Pramanik in a block that also houses dreaded gangsters Gudda and Gabbar as well as inmates accused in terror cases and Maoist leaders. Pramanik's immediate neighbours are former CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Sarala Maheshwari's husband Arun Maheshwari and son-in-law Amitava Kejriwal who were recently arrested in a land scam case.
"We have made enough arrangements to give Pramanik privacy. We have put up a makeshift purdah (curtain) in the cell, to allow the athlete to take bath in the cell," said a senior jail official who did not want to be named.
"She is cooperating," the official added, continuing to refer to Pramanik as a woman.
The athlete, who was also an accomplished 800 metres runner, has a guard round-the-clock and a pedestal fan in the cell. "Pramanik spends time reading newspapers and talking to the sepoy on guard," the official said.
On June 19, a gender determination test on Pramanik at Barasat district hospital, which did not have facilities for chromosome and hormone tests, had returned inconclusive reports.