IAAF’s findings will not affect Dutee at Worlds, says Coe

IAAF president Sebastian Coe attends a press briefing ahead of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Dutee Chand is their biggest star and there were many anxious faces when the questions on the IAAF’s currently-suspended hyperandrogenism regulations were put to Sebastian Coe, the president of the world athletics body, when he met the media here on Tuesday evening.

Will it affect Dutee at the Asians or at the coming Worlds in London if she makes the grade? Why were details of the IAAF’s study on the issue released just before the championships here?

Two years ago, on July 27, 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had made an interim decision to suspend the IAAF’s hyderandrogenism regulations for two years on the Dutee versus Athletics Federation of India versus IAAF case.

On Tuesday, the IAAF released a few details of the study on how female athletes with higher testosterone enjoyed an advantage when compared to normal women athletes.

The study found that in certain events female athletes with high testosterone levels enjoyed a 1.8% to 4.5% competitive advantage over female athletes with lower testosterone levels.

“If, as the study shows, in certain events female athletes with higher testosterone levels can have a competitive advantage of between 1.8 to 4.5% over female athletes with lower testosterone levels, imagine the magnitude of the advantage for female athletes with testosterone levels in the normal male range,” Dr Stephane Bermon, a member of the IAAF and IOC working groups on hyperandrogenic female athletes and transgender athletes, who jointly headed the study with Dr. Pierre-Yves Garnier, (Director, IAAF Health and Science Department) has been quoted as saying in the article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The results of the study may be a bit of a setback for the IAAF for the CAS has asked the IAAF to prove that the higher testosterone levels in females could give them an advantage comparable to a male athlete.

Coe made the IAAF’s point clear by saying, “I think it is important to start off from a very basic principle here and it is the basic principle that the IAAF has taken on this. So our responsibility, in female sport, is to protect, to defend, and to make sure that we all times promote our sport and we do it where we possibly can to make it a level-playing field.”

“The IAAF has worked on some of the data that we were asked to look at, some of the scientific background we were asked to look at by the CAS. We continue to do that and that’s exactly where this situation is at this moment.”

He said the results of the study would not affect athletes like Dutee Chand or any others who are competing at the Asians or who may have qualified for the London Worlds.

“No athlete who is currently competing is going to be impacted at all by the work we are doing or by the Court of Arbitration before the World Championships. That has no impact whatsoever,” he said.