Indian sprinter Dutee Chand said Tuesday she was “super excited” about returning to athletics after a landmark ruling on the validity of so-called gender tests.
Chand’s hyperandrogenism — a condition that produces high testosterone levels — meant she fell foul of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules on gender.
But in a ruling Monday, the Court of Arbitration forSport (CAS) suspended the controversial regulation for two years, allowing her to compete again.
The CAS also said the rule would be scrapped permanently if the IAAF failed to prove that enhanced testosterone levels led to improved performance in hyperandrogenic athletes.
“I am very happy and relieved,” India’s reigning under-18 100 metres champion told AFP by telephone from the southern city of Hyderabad.
“I have gone through a lot of suffering and humiliation. Now I want to forget everything and start afresh,” said Chand, now 19, her voice choked with emotion.
Chand, who missed the Commonwealth and Asian Games due to the ban imposed last year, had challenged the rule, which she said did not take into account athletes who were “born this way”.
“I never took any drugs, I was born like this. I really want to thank the judges,” said Chand, the third of seven children born to weavers in rural India.
“It is not only me, many more athletes like me will benefit from this landmark ruling.”
Critics say so-called gender testing is arbitrary and psychologically damaging.
The IAAF introduced the rule after a controversy over the treatment of South African runner Caster Semenya, whose ban was lifted following an investigation.
India’s Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal called the ruling a “tremendous victory” for the country in comments to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
Injeti Srinivas, the head of the Sports Authority of India, said he was delighted with the verdict.
“(Our) faith in fair play and Dutee Chand’s endurance have finally paid off. She can now prepare (for events) without any uncertainty,” he told PTI.
Chand, who is currently training at a sports academy in Hyderabad, said she had to deal with insensitive questions over her sex with little regard for her privacy.
She said the ruling meant she could now focus on qualifying for next year’s Olympics and improving her timings in her favourite 100 and 200-metre races.
“It is going to be very tough because my form has gone down. But it is not impossible, I still have seven months to recharge and recoup,” she said.
“I am super excited. I think I have God’s blessings.” – Agence France-Presse