Why Dutee Chand Can Continue to Race Despite Semenya Losing Appeal
Caster Semenya has lost her CAS appeal but Indian sprinter Dutee Chand will not be affected by the verdict.
South African runner Caster Semenya has lost her appeal against an IAAF rule that forces female athletes to regulate their testosterone levels.
Semenya, a double Olympic champion, was fighting measures imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that made it necessary for "hyperandrogenic" athletes -- or those with "differences of sexual development" (DSD) -- to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete as women.
The IAAF went into the case with the scientific argument that female runners with high testosterone levels "get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty" and thus have an unfair advantage in events from 400 meters to the mile.
Dutee Chand, India’s current 100m national record-holder has seen her share of hardships due to the high natural levels of testosterone found in her blood.
One of India’s biggest young talents, Dutee broke records at an early age and was slated to participate in the 2014 Commonwealth Games when she was dropped from the contingent on the eve of her departure. The Athletics Federation of India did not allow her to compete in the Asian Games that year as well saying the medical condition ‘hyperandrogenism’ gave her an unfair advantage.
Dutee fought her battle and took her case to the CAS (Court of Arbitration in Sport) where the IAAF’s policy on hyperandrogenism was rejected due to lack of proof that the medical condition gave athletes an advantage.
The IAAF was given two years to back up their argument following which their new research showed that hyperandrogenism affected women competing in events between the 400m and the mile. Thus brining in Caster Semenya under its purview but not Dutee, who runs only the 100m and the 200m events.
Semenya has a tough road ahead as will now need to use medication to suppress her testosterone levels if she wants to defend her 800m gold at the World Championship this September.
A further appeal is possible to Switzerland's supreme court in Lausanne. Federal judges rarely overturn CAS decisions but can intervene if legal process was abused.
Wednesday's verdict followed a five-day hearing in February that was among the longest in the court's 35-year history.
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