New Delhi: Indian sprinter Dutee Chand will aim to qualify for next year's Olympic Games after a Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to suspend IAAF rules that could have blocked women with high levels of male hormones from competing in Rio de Janeiro.
"I've been through a lot but I'm happy with the judgment," the 19-year-old Chand told The Associated Press by telephone Tuesday. "My immediate aim is to qualify for the Rio Olympics but I also know that age is on my side and I can realize my dream of winning several medals for India."
Chand had been suspended last year due to hyperandrogenism - the presence of high levels of testosterone in some females - which made her ineligible under the rules of the IAAF, the governing body for track and field.
She missed out on last year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games but was cleared to compete earlier this year pending a final verdict in her CAS case.
The rules requiring some female athletes to get medical clearance were introduced in 2011, after South African 800-meter runner Caster Semenya was sidelined for almost a year after winning the 2009 world title when she was 18.
But the CAS said Monday the world athletics body failed to prove that women with naturally high levels of testosterone had a competitive edge. It gave the IAAF two years to provide evidence in support of its theory or else the rules will be declared void.
"The Indian government has helped me a lot in all this and I hope they back me more and I'm able to practice in the US in the coming months," she added.
The sports and gender activist who pushed Chand to approach the CAS termed the decision as "historic."
"We raised certain ethical concerns," Payoshni Mitra told AP. "I had worked closely with athletes in India and approached the issue from a different point of view. I am glad that the CAS panel gave such a historic verdict. This can change sport forever for good."
"This verdict upholds the notion of gender equality in sports. This will mean women athletes can compete as they are. I feel this verdict will pave the way for a more inclusive, fairer sporting culture."
Mitra expected this will be the end of the controversial regulation.
"This issue is about basic human rights and we do not think science will ever be able to support the regulation," she said...