MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sprinter Dutee Chand feels her life is back on track after being cleared to race following the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) ruling on gender testing guidelines.
The Lausanne-based court suspended the governing International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) regulations regarding hyperandrogenism, a condition which produces high testosterone levels, for two years.
Monday’s ruling cleared the way for the 19-year-old to compete again in both domestic and international events after she was forced to sit out for about a year.
“When I heard that CAS had allowed me to participate again in international meets, I felt like I got my life back,” Chand, the under-18 national champion over 100 metres, told the Indian Express newspaper.
“Over the past year I was facing an uncertain future. Running is all I know and it is what I love the most.
“Till the verdict was pronounced I did not know what the future held in store. This is the happiest day of my life.”
The daughter of a weaver couple from Orissa, Chand was dropped from India’s contingent for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Incheon after her naturally-occurring testosterone levels were found in breach of the IAAF’s guidelines.
She was advised to have surgery and get medication but instead decided to challenge the guidelines at CAS, which asked the IAAF to present scientific evidence proving enhanced testosterone levels improved performance in hyperandrogenic athletes.
“In the absence of such evidence, the CAS Panel was unable to conclude that hyperandrogenic female athletes may benefit from such a significant performance advantage that it is necessary to exclude them from competing in the female category,” CAS said in a statement.
“Should the IAAF not file any scientific evidence within the two-year period granted by the CAS Panel, the Hyperandrogenism Regulations will be declared void.”
Chand said her training had been severely hampered due to the situation but had set qualification for next year’s Rio Olympics as her target.
The IAAF defended its regulations, saying they were framed after lengthy consultations with experts in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“The IAAF will now meet as soon as possible with its experts, and with the IOC and its experts, to discuss how best to address this interim ruling by the CAS,” the body said in a statement.
“The IAAF will make no further comments on this subject until those discussions are concluded.”
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford