Sports

Tokyo 2020: Dutee Chand, Castor Semenya, India, walk out against all odds

Kolkata: Dutee Chand, the fastest Indian woman, is not just another athlete who wants to score for the Tokyo Olympics. Nor is it again an inspiring story of a gifted athlete from a coastal town in the eastern Indian state of Odisha that makes her mark on the track in the international arena, but much more checkered. The 25-year-old, some of whom refer to India’s Castor Semenya, has successfully challenged the world’s athletic body’s attitude towards hyperandrogenism, enabling her to return to competition after a gap of almost two years. By mid-2019, she had created a major storm by being the first professional athlete in India to recognize the same-sex relationship – a revelation that polarized public opinion about her on social media. However, all that attention did not divert her from the immediate goal of reaching her second Olympics in Tokyo – with the COVID-19 pandemic plans of several athletes worldwide to meet the qualifying mark for the summer games. All that matters to her now is a magical timing of 11.15 seconds, the qualifying point for 100m women’s sprints in the Olympics, and she has two more events – the Indian Grand Prix and interstate championships this month to reach her goal . ‘Nothing can beat the experience of running in the Olympics. I am very hopeful of picking it up based on my world rankings of 42 or by a direct qualification. The cut-off point for the qualification is 11.15 sec. And my best is 11.22. There are two more competitions where I will give my best chance, ‘said Dutee. The lovely athlete sounded a pragmatic note about her pursuit of the Olympics on Wednesday during a virtual interaction, facilitated by her new sponsors Senco Gold & Diamonds. ‘See, I can give you no guarantee on timing. Our preparations have been hit hard by a number of events, such as the world rally in Portland and a Kyrgystan event being canceled due to the pandemic. The competition in the Olympics, where runners do 10.6, is on a different level, but I practice to be at my best. The final list of athletes will be available by June 29, ” said Dutee of her training base from Sports Authority of India in Patiala.

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It was an important gesture from someone like Dutee Chand as a brand ambassador from a jewelry band to rope – surely a departure from their use to use film celebrities. Suvankar Sen, CEO of the company, explained the reasoning: ” We have athletes who endorse our brands such as Sourav Ganguly and Swapna Burman, a gold medalist in the recent Asian Games. ‘However, we chose to have Dutee because she is an achiever from the LGBT community who will make it further. “She is a track heroine and we are honored by associating with her,” he said. Dutee’s journey, in her own words, was a struggle and endless controversy. ‘I come from a weaving family and we were six sisters and one brother. My earliest memories of running were along the river, so I did not hurt myself, ” she recalls. The first medal in an international competition was a bronze at the 200m women’s event at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships in Pune. In the same year, she also becomes the first Indian to reach the 100m final at the World Youth Championships. She won the silver medal in the women’s 100m at the 2018 Asian Games in Incheon, bringing home India’s first medal in this high profile race since 1998 before adding another silver in the 200m. Life for an athlete participating in the Olympics can be difficult, and Dutee was no exception. ” This is a six to seven hour exercise program in Patiala, which exercises speed and endurance, swimming and weight. We also have a young and talented relay team of 4 x 100 m. The cut-off for the Olympics is 43.05, and we have a realistic chance of achieving that, ” she said. How could she balance the media attention about her personal life and career? ‘Look, I’m not doing anything new. Love is not a crime. When the question of marriage comes up, we’ll see, ‘Dutee added as a parting shot over her partner.