Indian Sprinter Dutee Chand Wins "Gender Test" Appeal, Cleared to Run Again

Dutee Chand, an Indian sprinter suspended for excessive (though natural) levels of testosterone, won her appeal and can race again.

by Sean Newell
Jul 27 2015, 9:37pm

19-year-old Indian sprinter Dutee Chand (pictured right) has not be able to run competitively since last year due to a ban for failing a hormone test, but after questioning the validity of the test, Chand has won the right to race again. Following a breakout performance at the Asian Junior Athletics Championship in Taipei, and rumors about her masculine physique starting to surface, the Athletics Federation of India asked the Sports Authority of India to test Chand for extra testosterone. The test results showed that "her body produced natural levels of testosterone above International Association of Athletics Federations guidelines."

Since 2011 and the case of Caster Semenya, the IAAF has required female athletes to "have testosterone levels below ten nanomoles per liter, the bottom limit of the "normal male range.'" Chand exceeded this rule, for which there is no corresponding male limit, and was left with little recourse:

The regulation, which has also been adopted by the International Olympic Committee, gives women who exceed the testosterone limit two choices: seek hormonal or surgical treatment, or cease to compete.

Chand, who was not selected to represent India at the Commonwealth Games and Asia Games as a result of this ruling, chose neither of these ridiculous options and instead took the IAAF to court, where she argued that rule was discriminatory. Today, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in Switzerland agreed with her. Sort of. In its ruling, the court suspended the regulations for two years, and if the IAAF can't come up with a valid reason to keep them after that, they will be discarded altogether.

In its ruling, Cas urged the IAAF to create a procedure where athletes should be allowed to compete in one of the female or male categories and should not be excluded as a "consequence of the natural and unaltered state of their body."

In addition to the rule's validity, the Court noted that there has been scant evidence provided that these elevated levels provide any kind of competitive advantage in the first place.