CAS Suspends IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued an interim award in the dispute between Indian athlete Dutee Chand, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The ruling sets a precedent that could eventually extend into swimming, as it impacts all female athletes.

In 2012, the IAAF and IOC placed a rule that would disqualify female athletes with high testosterone levels. In the summer of 2014, Chand, a track athlete, became the Indian national champion in the 18 & under 100 meter event. Shortly after, she was banned from competing in women’s events entirely due to failing a hormone test.

Chand is hyperandrogenic, meaning she has naturally high levels of testosterone. Her body produced levels that surpassed the IAAF guidelines.

The IAAF initially ruled that Chand could return to competition, but only if she had significantly lowered her testosterone levels. This is done through certain drugs or surgery that limit the production of testosterone. In October 2014, Chand started the appeal process.

The CAS Panel in charge of the case has suspended the IAAF’s Hyperandrogenism Regulations for competing in women’s events for up to 2 years in order to give the IAAF an opportunity to provide the CAS with scientific evidence about the relationship between higher testosterone levels and improved performance in hyperandrogenic athletes.

While that evidence has not currently been brought to the table, the CAS panel was not able to rule that hyperandrogenic female athletes have such a significant advantage due to their testosterone levels that it warrants their exclusion from women’s sporting events.

While the Hyperandrogenism Regulations are suspended, Chand is allowed to compete at national and international events. If the IAAF is unable to provide scientific evidence of significantly enhanced performance in hyperandrogenic athletes by the end of the 2 year period set by the CAS, the previously held Hyperandrogenism Regulations will be thrown out as void.

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Jean Komo
6 years ago

Certain races tend to have higher instances of this than others (If I remember my endocrinology courses correctly), this could turn into another way of justifying racial divisions. NOTHING GOOD COMES FROM THIS! Let women race with what god naturally gave them and nothing more! Natural ability should never be regulated.

a swim reader
7 years ago

There are certain genetic conditions which cause the body to produce too many androgens…conditions such as Late Onset Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (it’s also called partial 21-hydroxylase deficiency). For females, treatment often involves 2 options: (1) take steroids, which, ironically, results in a person with this condition to produce **fewer** androgens; or (2) take other meds which only block the body from recognizing the excess testosterone (doesn’t prevent your adrenal glands from overproducing it, just blocks your body from using the excess testosterone). Of course, in international competition, option #1 is a no go because you’d test positive for steroids. In the case of option #2, a decent physician should be checking bioavailable testosterone, not just regular testosterone.

A sizable percentage… Read more »

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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