TORONTO (Monday July 27, 2015) – Following a historically important ruling issued today by
the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”), 19-year-old Indian sprinter Dutee Chand is
immediately and unconditionally eligible to compete
The Lausanne, Switzerland-based CAS ruling has the effect of immediately suspending the
controversial International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulation governing
eligibility of females with naturally-occurring Hyperandrogenism.
Until now, the regulation has caused female athletes with naturally-elevated testosterone levels to be suspended or to be banned outright from competition unless they underwent medical intervention to lower their testosterone levels.
In what will be widely considered a major victory for the rights of athletes, women may now compete regardless of their natural testosterone levels and without being subjected to invasive screening or medical intervention.
Ms. Chand said she is relieved and delighted that she can continue to pursue her dream as an athlete in international women’s track and field competitions.
“What I had to face last year was not fair. I have a right to run and compete. But that right was taken away from me. I was humiliated for something that I can’t be blamed for. I am glad that no other female athlete will have to face what I have faced, thanks to this verdict.”
In its 162-page ruling, a three-member panel of the CAS chaired by the Honourable Justice Annabelle Claire Bennett (Federal Court of Australia) held that the IAAF did not establish that the Hyperandrogenism Regulation is necessary for fair competition.
Toronto-based lawyer James Bunting of Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP, who brought the pro-bono case to the CAS on behalf of Ms. Chand, noted that “the decision should have far reaching consequences around the globe as numerous other sports organizations have adopted the same, or similar, hyperandrogenism policies, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”
After having been barred from competing against women because her natural testosterone levels were too high. The CAS has given the IAAF two years to present convincing scientific evidence establishing that naturally high testosterone levels provide an unfair athletic advantage to hyperandrogenic 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.
Added Ms. Chand: “I am grateful to Dr. Payoshni Mitra, Professor Bruce Kidd (University of Toronto) and Dr. Katrina Karkazis (Stanford University) who came to my aid when I was first suspended, and to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India as well as Sports Authority of India, including its former Director General Jiji Thomson, for its support.”
“I also want to thank my Toronto-based legal team of Jim Bunting, Carlos Sayao and Justice Morris Fish, and the expert witnesses who helped me pro bono including Professor Richard Holt (University of Southampton), Professor Peter Sönksen, Dr. Sari van Anders (University of Michigan), Madeleine Pape (University Wisconsin Madison) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.”
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Dutee Chand is an Indian sprinter, 2016 Summer Olympic hopeful and current national champion in the Women’s 100 metres event.
In July 2014, Dutee learned through media reports she was ineligible for competition in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow under an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) policy that claims her natural testosterone levels are too high and give her unfair advantage. She is no longer allowed to compete in national and international competitions.
Dutee is the most recent in a string of women athletes who have had to submit to serious medical interventions to lower their natural testosterone levels or forego their career. Dutee is the first athlete affected by this policy to challenge it before the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Dutee was born in 1996 to Chakradhar and Akhuji Chand in Chakagopalpur in the state of Odisha, India. She is one of six siblings. Dutee credits her elder sister as her source for inspiration; at the age of four, she began following her to workouts at the local track. By the age of ten, she was training in India’s National program.
In 2012, Dutee became the national under-18 champion in the Women’s hundred metres event and was the first Indian to reach the finals at the World Youth Championships. In 2013, she became the national champion in both the 100 and 200 metres events on the senior circuit, winning gold in both disciples at the National Senior Athletics Championships in Ranchi.