P. T. Usha disapproves participation of DSD athletes in national meets

Image Courtesy: PTI
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P. T. Usha, the legendary track and field icon of India, speaks about the presence of DSD athletes, or Female athletes with Differences of Sexual Development (DSD) in the global athletics fraternity, and the veteran is not on board with them competing in national meets.

Image Courtesy: PTI

Naturally, female athletes with DSD condition generate more testosterone in their bodies compared to those without the condition. In 2019, the Court of Arbitration (CAS) made a new regulation that DSD athletes would have to take medications to reduce the high natural testosterone levels in their bodies, if they are to complete internationally in 400m events or above.

On the heels of CAS’s new ruling, two-time Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya had made an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) against the rule last year, but the South African recently lost her appeal.

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Discussing Semenya’s case, PT Usha spoke about how the CAS ruling does not bar the DSD athletes from taking part in national events, something that the veteran sprinter is not on board with.

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Two-time Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya, who host her SFT appeal. (Image Courtesy: ABC)

They will run the 200m: PT Usha on DSD athletes

Speaking to Sportstar exclusively, PT Usha, aka the ‘Payyoli Express’ stated she has observed around 20 DSD athletes in the country.

“I think we have some such 20 athletes in our country. Most of them are running in the 400m and 800m with one or two in the 1500m, and I feel quartermilers will not take medication to reduce their testosterone level to run the event,” Usha said.

The 56 year old feels, under the CAS ruling, the athletes will aim for the 200m events.

“Isn’t the high testosterone level the reason for them winning,” Usha went on, “will they win after taking medicines to lower it? They will do the next best thing, run the 200m. We need to watch them closely.”

Usha claims allowing DSD athletes in national meets will demoralise natural girls

The CAS rule, which applies to international events, however does not bar DSD athletes from competing in national or state level events. Usha believes participation of DSD athletes in national events will be disheartening for the natural female athletes.

“If they are allowed in national meets, it will spoil the chances of other girls. First of all, when our natural girls see such athletes they will feel demoralised,” said the 14 times Asian Championships and 4 times Asian Games gold medallist.

“The right thing to do is to ensure that such athletes are not allowed in Nationals also. What is the point in allowing them to run in national meets if they cannot compete internationally?” Usha concluded.

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