Kolkata, Sep 22 (IANS) With three shining gold pieces hanging from her neck, sprinter Dutee Chand is confident that if she gets to train abroad, she can improve and qualify for the Rio Olympics next year.
Dutee bagged the 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles at the 55th National Open Athletics Championship and was the best female sprinter in the competition by far.
“Staying in India, training here and then to qualify for the Olympics it is very difficult, but I have told minister sir (sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal) to send me abroad for training so that I can better my timing. With proper facilities, I can easily do it (qualify for Rio),” Dutee told IANS.
She clocked 23.69 seconds in the 200m sprint here on Saturday, falling just short of the Olympic qualifying mark (OQM) of 23.20. she recorded a time of 11.68 in the 100m, 0.36 seconds outside the Olympics qualifying mark.
Asked about her training schedule, the 19-year-old said: “I train from six in the morning to 9.30. Then I spend an hour in the gym. In the evening I train from four to six.”
The sprinter was banned last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as her body produced testosterone at levels which were deemed higher than the limits for women sportspersons.
But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July cleared the sprinter by suspending the “hyperandrogenism” rules, which may also be scrapped if the IAAF fails to provide evidence.
Speaking about her disheartening experience, she said: “I was really sad when it happened, it also made me lose hope. It came at a time when I was doing well in every meet.”
“They blamed me for nothing, what could I do anything about it? Everybody was backing me up then, but IAAF did not understand it and they banned me, it was really tough for me.”
“This IAAF rule should be banned, so that women like me can’t be harassed and they can come and compete freely.”
But she came back into the circuit stronger than ever, with jaw dropping results. She clinched the gold in Hyderabad earlier this year in juniors and then bagged a treble here.
“I had come into the event to give my best, I could not practice for two months because of the case, and I was able to put in a good effort here (with 11.68 being her personal best in India).”
“I am happy with all these gold, I am blessed to have the sports ministry by my side now, earlier I had to face a lot of problems, but they were the ones who helped me then, even DG (Director General) SAI,” said Dutee who now trains at the Gopichand Badminton Academy under the guidance of Nagapuri Ramesh.
(Debdoot Das can be contacted at email@example.com)