Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, Mar 31:
Ace Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand returned to Odisha today after her sojourn to Lausanne for the hearing of her appeal against the ban on her on the grounds of ‘hyperanrogenism’ at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), confident that the CAS had allowed her to participate in “all international events’ till the verdict in the case.
“They haven’t handed me over the letter yet. But they openly asked me to focus on my training and said I can participate in all events till they give their decision. I feel happy now. I missed two big competitions. I have one big event on my hands. I had performed well in the National Games. I will definitely give good performance in the forthcoming Federation Cup games,” said a beaming Dutee speaking to the media on her arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.
Dutee’s jubilation, however, could prove short lived. In New Delhi, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), the governing body of athletics in the country, made it clear that she had been specifically allowed to participate in the Asian Championships to be held in Wuhan, China from June 3-7 and not ‘all international events’.
“Pending a final decision from the CAS, Dutee Chand has been allowed to take part in national events and the Asian Championships to be held in China. She is not eligible to take part in any other continental and international events as of today till the case at the CAS is decided,” IAAF, the world governing body of athletics, said in a letter to AFI.
The unambiguous letter makes it clear that Dutee has been given the go ahead only for the June event in China and will have to sit out of other continental or international events.
The appeal hearing against the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy, which bars female athletes having higher level of male hormones from competitions, ended in Lausanne on March 26 and a decision is expected in the next few months.
The country’s sports establishment has pledged all support to Dutee. While the Sports Ministry bore the cost of Dutee’s legal battle at the CAS, Sports Authority of India has said it would continue to support Dutee.
“Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand had a fair hearing at the CAS in Lausanne. Sports Authority of India supported Ms. Chand since her disqualification in August 2014. SAI had backed her to make an appeal against her disqualification at the highest court of law in sports, reinstated her in Centre of Excellence (COE), NSNIS Patiala,” SAI said in a release.
“In December 2014, Ms. Chand was provisionally allowed to compete. She won a Gold and two Bronze medals at the 35th National Games in Kerala. Pending the decision in CAS, Ms. Chand will continue in competition. Sports Authority of India and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports are committed to continue to support Ms. Chand,” it added.
Dutee will train in Hyderabad at the P Gopichand Academy with support from both SAI and Sports Ministry, the release added.
The 19-year-old Dutee was disqualified last year by the AFI as per IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy after tests revealed that her body produced natural levels of testosterone above permissible limits.
She has a condition called hyperandrogenism and her body produces natural levels of testosterone so high to place her in the male range in the eyes of international track and field.
Dutee was unceremoniously pulled out from the Indian contingent for the Commonwealth Games on July 12 last year after she was diagnosed with ‘hyperandrogenism’.
Dutee had 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. With a timing of 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.