The unfinished race: 30 years of gender verification in sport

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30 years ago, María José Martínez-Patiño (one of the authors), a young Spanish woman athlete, was disqualified by the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation from competing in hurdling after it was established that her chromosomal constitution was not female. She was eventually diagnosed with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, a disorder in which, despite the presence of a Y chromosome, the phenotypic development is female because of a lack of functional response to testicular androgens. Her refusal to stop competing as a woman made her an emblematic figure of the fight against arbitrary and discriminatory rules imposed by sports authorities against women, and the European Athletic Association declared her eligible to compete again 2 years after the disqualification.

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