She’s the comeback woman. Last year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had questioned her womanhood. The sprinter had been barred for competing against women because she was found to have hyperandrogenism (high level of testosterone). Chand had taken the blow on the chin and stood firm. “I want to remain who I am and compete again,” she had said. She moved the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and got a verdict in her favour as CAS struck down the practice of “hyperandrogenism regulation” by the world athletics governing body in a landmark judgment.
Chand can compete again, against the female athletes and as the 55th National Open Athletic Championship begins here at the Salt lake SAI Campus tomorrow, she would be taking the track for the first time after the ban was revoked.
In fact, Chand would be the cynosure of all eyes in a strong field of 968 athletes, including top names like Lalita Babar, Tintu Luka and Inderjeet Singh. The 19-year-old athlete’s fight for justice had even impressed the Stanford University scholars. “Dutee has made history with her courageous decision to challenge a policy she felt was unfair to her and to all women athletes. It’s a victory for women’s equality in sport. And I’m thrilled she can just now run,” Katrina Karkazis of the Center for Biomedical Ethics told The New York Times after the CAS judgment. The National Championship offers her a perfect platform to get back into the groove and start preparations for the 2016 Olympics.
Athletes from 24 states and eight boards are participating in the event. There will also be 33 defending champions 18 of whom are women.