She is just 19 but the battle Indian sprinter Dutee Chand fought is not an ordinary one. On Monday, she became the first athlete to challenge the rules of Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and win.
Chand, the daughter of weavers who was brought up in poverty, was banned since last summer after failing a hormone test. She was diagnosed with hyperandrogenism, a condition which produces high testosterone levels. She was disqualified according to gender rules of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Chand has now been cleared to compete for the next two years after a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Happy and relieved after the verdict, which is being regarded as landmark judgement, Chand said:
“I am glad others will not face similar abuse to her after being cleared to compete following a landmark gender case. I know people started suspecting whether I was a woman or a man. All the honour I earned – I lost. My friends used to start asking what’s wrong with me, and started to avoid me. In training centres, where girls used to share rooms, I was kept separately.”
Chand, the 100 meter under-18 champion in 2012, always knew she was going to win the case, but admits she has also suffered from a loss of form. She said:
“I never thought I would lose, because I always knew I was not at fault. I am very thankful to the judges that they have taken a close look at my case and given the decision in my favour. I have got justice. I am a normal girl. When I got to know the judgement – I can’t tell you how I felt.”
However, CAS has asked IAAF to provide more scientific evidence about the quantitative relationship between enhanced testosterone levels and improved athletic performance in hyperandrogenic athletes.
If they are not able to do so in two years, the Hyperandrogenism Regulations will be declared void.