Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 28:
Ace Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand can now participate in all international track and field events till the final hearing on her appeal against her indefinite ban from competition, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled.
Dutee informed leading local television channel OTV over phone from Lausanne, Switzerland on the CAS decision.
Dutee was unceremoniously pulled out from the Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games on July 12 last year. After subjecting Dutee to a series of tests and without providing her an explanation, she was sent home.
Dutee was informed about the issue much later. She was diagnosed with a condition known as ‘hyperandrogenism’ (excess of androgens, which in this case meant excessive testosterone) and hence deemed ineligible to participate.
The origins of this ruling lay in a 2011 decision by International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) to test for excessive testosterone to determine hereligibility for participating in women’s athletics events.
Dutee was left to face social stigmaf or a naturally occurring condition in her body. There was nothing that Dutee had done or could do to correct this anomaly, and yet she was deemed to be guilty and was pulled out of the Commonwealth games contingent.
She was given the option to return to the track on the condition that she would take hormone suppressing drugs or get a surgery done to limit testosterone production. Dutee, however, turned down the offer.
Dutee chose to take the road less travelled – and instead challenged the basis of such a law. Given her need to maintain financial security, it would have been an easy decision to cave in to the needs of a law that was ironically drafted to ensure fair competition in the women’s events.
She later challenged the verdict against her by filing an appeal in the CAS in October last year. CAS reviewed her case and on December 21, 2014 and an interim order was passed by them allowing her to participate in domestic meets in India.
After the December 21 ruling, she got only five days to prepare for the Odisha state meet but Dutee still came through with flying colours. In 12 seconds, Dutee claimed the right to represent Odisha in the National Games.
In the National Games in February this year, after seven months in the wilderness, Dutee reclaimed her sprinting title with a timing of 11.76 in the women’s 100 metre event.
She had left India for Lausanne, Switzerland on March 21 for her hearing by CAS.