New Delhi: Promising Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand got a massive shot in the arm after the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland specifically allowed her to take part in the Asian Championships, pending a final decision on her appeal against IAAF's hyperandrogenism policy. 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.
It is learnt that the Athletics Federation of India, which is also a party in the landmark case before the CAS in Lausanne alongwith the IAAF, has got a communication from its parent world athletics body that Dutee can take part in the
Asian Championships to be held in Wuhan, China from June 3-7.
"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," a letter from the IAAF to AFI said.
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 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 range.
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.
In December last year, the CAS, in an interim order, allowed Dutee to take part in domestic events. She took part in the January 31-February 14 National Games in Kerala and won a gold in women's 100m dash.
At the CAS hearing, Dutee's counsels included some well known international experts like James Bunting and former Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court Morris Fish. Dr Payoshni Mitra, a research consultant on gender and sports issues, who has been working with Dutee, also accompanied her in Lausanne.
The Sports Ministry bore the cost of Dutee's legal battle at the CAS.
Sports Authority of India said that 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.
SAI said it has been informed that the CAS hearing was presided over by three eminent arbitrators and Dutee was satisfied with the hearing and looking forward to the CAS decision in the coming months.
"Mr. Jim Bunting from Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Toronto, Canada represented Ms. Chand at CAS. He was assisted by Mr. Carlos Sayao and was advised by former Judge of Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Morris Fish. The legal team worked pro bono. SAI had covered all travel, accommodation and other expenses of Ms. Chand and the legal team.
"From India, Dr. Payoshni Mitra, Researcher and Activist, Gender and Sport Issues, accompanied Ms. Chand to Lausanne, whose travel and related costs were also borne by SAI," it said.
SAI Director General Injeti Srinivas said that "safeguarding our athletes' rights is one of the foremost duties of SAI".
"SAI believes in equality and fairness in sports. And we will continue to support legitimate interests of our athletes," he said.