ENARADA, Bengaluru, July 9, 2016
India’s ace sprinter Dutee Chand is confident of winning medals at the Rio Olympics which is slated to begin from August 5. Dutee, who is the first Indian woman to make it to Olympics in a 100 metres race in 36 years was in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference, Dutee said she was very much confident of winning a medal in the 100 metre category. In fact, Dutee’s story is of a girl hailing from poor family, finding difficult to meet her ends meet and how she finally made it to the Olympics.
Dutee is the second Indian women ever to qualify for the women 100m event at the Summer Olympic Games, with legendary sprinter PT Usha last making it in 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Dutee was born on 3rd February 1996 to Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji Chand in Gopalpur, in Jajpur district of Odisha. She is one of four daughters born to the poor weaver couple. Her source of inspiration comes from her elder sister Saraswati Chand, herself an acclaimed athlete. In 2013, Dutee enrolled in KIIT University to pursue law.
Dutee expressed her happiness and thanked Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS, Bhubaneswar for supporting her to achieve this major milestone. “I feel deeply proud on being supported by the Founder of KIIT & KISS. Dr. Achyuta Samanta sir is like living God to me. Due to his strong support and encouragement, I got a golden opportunity to qualify in Rio Olympics 2016. Samanta sir is also like my father as he has been supporting me mentally, financially and in other ways like a daughter. He supported me unconditionally at a time when I was unknown. By his effort I got the chance to pursue my education in Law in KIIT University and could reach this position. I got my first medal in the 200m event at the Asian Championships in Pune in 2012-13 for our beloved Dr Samanta. I neither had proper shoes to run in this race, not money to buy immediately from market. When I called Dr Samanta from Pune to tell him about my problems, he immediately sent Rs 25,000 in my bank account. I could buy a good pair of shoes and won the first medal of my life. I have no words to thank to this respected person”, the ace sprinter said.
Dutee also thanked Sports Department of KIIT University and its Director Dr. Gaganendu Dash, who helps and guides her in technical aspects.
Dutee Chand, in 2012, became a national champion in the under-18 category when she clocked 11.8 seconds in the 100m event. Clocking 23.811 seconds, Dutee won the bronze in the 200m event at the Asian Championships in Pune. That season also saw her become the first Indian to reach the final of a global athletics 100m final, when she reached the final in the 2013 World Youth Championships.
In the same year, she became the national champion in 100m and 200m when she won the events clocking 11.73 s in the final in 100m and a career-best 23.73 s in 200m at the National Senior Athletics Championships in Ranchi. Dutee clocked 11.33 sec in women’s 100m dash to win the gold and erase Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old earlier national record of 11.38 sec in the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in New Delhi. However, she missed the Rio Olympics qualification norm of 11.32 sec by one-hundredth of a second. Dutee qualified for Rio Olympics after she clocked 11.30 sec in the heats also broke her own National Record. In the final, she stepped ahead with another record, finishing 100m in 10:24 sec.
Unfortunately, Dutee was dropped from the Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after the Athletic Federation of India stated that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete. The government is trying to explore CAS option in Dutee’s case. There has been no suggestion that she has been involved in cheating or doping — the decision was made in compliance with International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulations on “female hyperandrogenism” designed to address a perceived advantage for female athletes with high androgen levels. The decision has been condemned by Australian intersex advocates. The Athletic Federation of India and IAAF’s actions were widely criticized as an affront to Chand’s privacy and human rights.
In July 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued a decision to suspend the hyperandrogenism regulation for female track and field sports for two years, stating that insufficient evidence had been produced to indicate that there is any link between enhanced androgen levels and improved athletic performance. The court allowed two further years for convincing evidence to be submitted by the IAAF, after which the regulation will be automatically revoked if evidence has not been provided. This effectively removes the suspension of Dutee from competition, clearing her to race again.
On Dutee’s achievement, Dr. Samanta in a televised interview said, “It is a matter of pride and great happiness to see her triumphant. It is my pleasure to promote talent from any field coming to my knowledge. When I met her for the first time, my sixth sense indicated that she will become a celebrity and win Olympics. I have been advocating and supporting her throughout her thick and thins. Today, my dream has come true and I am really proud of Dutee”.