The slightly brash mannerism is discernible. Pinki Pramanik walks with a swagger befitting an Asian Games gold medalist, and when she mounts her superbike, the former sprinter looks to be in a different zone altogether.
Pramanik had to undergo many hardships to earn her freedom, and even identity. She had to endure prison and a botched gender identity test before being cleared of charges of rape, assault and impersonation that were filed in June 2012. Now 29, Pramanik has set her sight on returning to the tracks.
“I’m taking it a step at a time,” she told HT over phone. “But yes I am now sticking to a schedule. I have taken permission from the athletics body to participate in the next national meet but I haven’t decided which one to target. Maybe it will happen next year,” she said. Details of her regimen she wasn’t ready to share. Pramanik, a TTE at the Sealdah station, however, says she is happily balancing work and training.
Not forthcoming over phone or in person, Pramanik isn’t an easy interviewee, especially when the questions pertain to the time under police custody. Pramanik had won gold and silver in the 4x400m relay of the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games respectively in 2006, before a road accident cut short a promising career in 2008.
It was thought that Pramanik suffered from hyperandrogenism but according to Payoshni Mitra, who was involved in Dutee Chand’s legal battle against a ban at the CAS, the case doesn’t stand any more. “It never applied to Pinki because she never went for hyperandrogenism tests. And right now no gender tests are allowed for women athletes,” she told HT.
For quite some time Pramanik had to struggle to get a nod from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to be able to compete at the national level. A reinstated job with the Railways has gone a long way in facilitating her recovery. Then there was the problem of not getting adequate facilities to train. “At one point of time I was running on the roads,” she said. “But that has been sorted out,” she said.