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Sprinter Dutee Chand's gender case set to be reopened

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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591   //    04 Jul 2017, 14:36 IST
PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 19:  (L-R) Anasztzia Nguyen of Hungary, Jamile Samuel of the Netherlands and Dutee Chand of India compete in the Women's 60 Metres Heats during day three of the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Oregon Convention Center on March 19, 2016 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF)
Dutee Chand (right) was part of India’s Rio contingent last year

What’s the story?

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who was the subject of a much-publicised case between the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), will once again be in the spotlight as her previous case will be reopened soon.

The CAS had ordered in July 2015 that the IAAF’s Hyperandrogenism Regulations will be suspended for two years in order to give time to the body to submit more proof regarding the advantage for hyperandrogenic athletes over female athletes with normal testosterone levels.

In a press release, the IAAF said, "Funded by the IAAF and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), the study describes and characterises serum androgen levels and studies their possible influence on athletic performance in both male and female elite athletes. The study analysed 2127 mass spectrometry-measured serum androgen concentrations obtained from elite athletes participating in the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships.”

Also read: Pakistani athletes set to participate in Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar

In case you didn’t know

In 2014, Dutee had been disqualified by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) as per the existing hyperandrogenism policy of the IAAF at the time. The 100m sprinter challenged the decision and was allowed to compete as the CAS ruling stated that there was no clear evidence of her benefitting from her increased testosterone levels.

The court had said at the time that the policy was invalid unless the IAAF did not present further evidence of athletes like Dutee having an unfair advantage over the other female athletes.

The heart of the matter

In the study, it has been established that athletes with higher-than-usual testosterone levels have a 1.8%-4.5% advantage over the ones with lower levels in particular events. The study has been authored by Drs Stephane Bermon and Pierre-Yves Garnier, gone through subsequent review, and has now been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The IAAF has clarified that the regulations shall continue to remain suspended until the court gives its verdict and this entire process will not make any difference to the IAAF World Championships, which will be held in London in the month of August.

What’s next?

Dutee is all set to compete in the Asian Athletics Championships, which will be held in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha and will start on July 5. 

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Author’s take

It remains to be seen what verdict the CAS will give on the matter in the near future. It is a huge relief for Dutee that there will be no changes implemented for the World Championships scheduled for next month.

Also read: Neeraj Chopra makes India proud by finishing fifth in the Diamond League

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