Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Feb 26:
Even after winning a legal battle in gender case last year in Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Odisha’s famous sprinter Dutee Chand’s Olympics hopes seems to be in jeopardy.
With only six months to go for the Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, things have become difficult for Chand after International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked IAAF and others last month to go back to court for reinstatement of its hyperandrogenism rules.
CAS in July had suspended the rules set by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which would have blocked women with high levels of male hormones from competing in Rio de Janeiro. It had given IAAF two years to prove that hyperandrogenism gave an advantage to women athletes; a timeframe that suggests that there would be no revision before Rio.
The IOC statement has put Dutee and many other female athletes in uncertainty before the Rio Olympics, said Payoshni Mitra, the gender activist who has helped Chand’s reinstatement.
The 20-year-old Chand, who was pulled out of the team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and also missed the Asian Games owing to hyperandrogenism rules before being allowed to compete again by the CAS, won a bronze medal in the 60-meter event at the Asian Indoor Championships in Doha recently but is yet to qualify for the Olympics.
We have asked the IAAF if it plans to go back to the CAS before the Games, but have had no response. This has created confusion and was creating an unhealthy debate, Mitra said.
Mitra feels such policies have repeatedly harmed women athletes and the IOC suggestion that women compete with men in case of hyperandrogenism was creating a new debate.
The CAS arbitration panel clearly stated that Dutee is a woman. It was never a matter for debate, she added.
Mitra said that hopefully IOC will refrain from introducing hyperandrogenism regulations at the Rio Games or else Chand will have to approach the CAS again.
Dutee Chand has no information about the reinstatement of the regulation and is concentrating on her practice for Olympics.
“I am concentrating on Olympics as per Payoshni Mitra’s advice and I am busy preparing for Olympics and not worrying about the controversy. I have increased my target to Olympics after winning medals at the Asian games. If the CAS verdict is overturned, then it will be a great set back not only to me but also to many women athletes with high testosterone,” Chand expressed.