Indian Sprinter Dutee Chand walks past ab initio Legal Hurdle
New Delhi: The women’s sprinter community can now heave a little albeit uncertain sign of relief as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the apex legal body for Indian sports suspended the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulation governing eligibility criteria for natural High-testosterone levels in women athletes.
A National Champion in the under-18 category, a National Senior Athletics Champion, an Asian Championship holder, a finalist at World Youth Championships…… few accolades that had brought this young Sprinter into limelight, struggled with her natural Testosterone case of health, called Hyperandrogenism.
Dutee Chand was eliminated as drop-out participants at the last minute in Commonwealth games as the Athletics Federation of India disqualified her hyperandro condition and declared her ineligible to participate with other athletes.
Dutee Chand challenged the regulations and the decision of the AFI to ban her in September 2014. She was given support from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports had assured the Parliament last year that the Ministry would provide all possible support to Dutee Chand. Following that, she was reinstated in the Centre for Excellence, Patiala and all supporting costs for her appeal and hearing in CAS was provided.
The decision of CAS this week has altered her participation status. Now, instead of a forever ban, she has been granted an immediate and unconditional eligibility to compete in the women’s category for an interim period of 2 years.
CAS has awarded this 2 years time schedule to IAAF within which the federation has to present convincing scientific evidence establishing that naturally high testosterone levels provide an unfair athletic advantage to hyper androgenic female athletes as compared to their peers. If the IAAF does not, or cannot, do so the Hyperandrogenism Regulation will be rendered null and void.
Dutee Chand’s legal team constituted of Toronto-based lawyer James Bunting, Justice Morris Fish of Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP, who represented Dutee Chand pro bono in CAS and her advisors Dr. Payoshni Mitra, Professor Bruce Kidd and Dr. Katrina Karkazis in the case. Dutee Chand has expressed gratitude to Sports Minister Sonowal and his ministry officials, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and all those who supported her unconditionally throughout.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Sarbananda Sonowal has whole heartedly welcomed the decision of Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).