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Society of Young Solicitors Annual Conference 2016

Society of Young Solicitors

On Saturday the 22nd of October, Laura Donnellan presented a paper at the Society of Young Solicitors Annual Conference 2016. The theme of this year’s conference was Sport and the Law. Laura’s paper was titled: “The IAAF’s Hyperandrogenism Regulations 2011 and the CAS decision in the Dutee Chand Case”. The presentation discussed sex verification in sport and the use of biological markers including the Sex Chromatin test and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test used by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). While sex verification or gender testing was dispensed with by the IAAF in 1992, in 2011 the Hyperandrogenism Regulations were introduced in the wake of allegations surrounding South African Athlete Caster Semenya. The Regulations provided that female athletes with 10 nanomoles of testosterone per litre of blood would be ineligible to compete in women's events unless their naturally occurring high levels of testosterone was reduced by way of medication or surgery. Dutee Chand, an Indian Sprinter, challenged the IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations on the basis that they were discriminatory, were disproportionate, there was no evidence that Hyperandrogenism in female athletes resulted in enhanced performance and that the Regulations were a disguised form of drug testing. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July 2015 provisionally suspended the Regulations pending the furnishing of further scientific evidence that supports the IAAF’s contention that Hyperandrogenism in female athletes is linked to better performance. The IAAF has two years to provide such evidence and if, by July 2017, the IAAF contacts the CAS to inform it that it has no such evidence or does not furnish any evidence by the deadline, the Regulations will be suspended indefinitely. The decision means that female athletes with Hyperandrogenism are not required to take medication to lower their levels of testosterone or undergo surgery pending a review of the Regulations by the CAS in July 2017. Chand and other athletes with Hyperandrogenism can compete nationally and internationally and as no evidence has been adduced as if yet in support of the link between Hyperandrogenism and enhanced performance, the Regulations may well be gone by July of next year.