Trained relentlessly to secure Rio Olympics berth, says Dutee Chand

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi, July 8 (ANI): Having touched everyone with her inspiring tale of resilience and unmeasured strength, ace Indian sprinter Dutee Chand has now turned her entire attention on next month's Rio Olympics. The 20-year-old, hailing from Jajpur district in Odisha, overcame all sorts of ordeals to secure her berth for the Rio Games in the women's 100 metres category. She surpassed qualification norm of 11.32 seconds by clocking 11.30s in a qualifying event at the XXVI International Meeting G.Kosanov in Kazakhstan last month. In the process, she also scripted history by becoming the first Indian female athlete to qualify for 100m dash in Olympics in 36 years after legendary PT Usha. Dutee had earlier missed the Rio Olympics qualification mark by one-hundredth of a second despite breaking previous holder Rachita Mistry's 16-year-old national record of 11.38s at the 100m event of Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championship held in New Delhi in April. Taking a stroll down memory lane, Dutee revealed that she underwent a series of intense training, including speedwork and gyming in order to achieve the feat. "I had to work hard immensely to achieve the Rio ticket. I used to train relentlessly from morning to evening. I was very sad when I failed to qualify for Rio in the Federation Cup (held in New Delhi). But I was sure of crossing the mark by participating in a few more competitions. I had a good campaign in Kazakhstan and I am delighted to have secured berth for Olympics," Dutee told ANI in an exclusive interview. In 2014, Dutee endured humiliation and intense scrutiny as she was banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after failing a hormone test. However, she refused to be cowed down by all these adversities and went on to challenge the IAAF regulation. She was even pulled out of the team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and also missed the Asian Games owing to 'hyperandrogenism' rules. The sprinter ultimately won the right to race again in a landmark ruling questioning the validity of so-called gender tests around naturally high testosterone levels in female athletes. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July last year cleared the sprinter by suspending the 'hyperandrogenism' rules, which may also be scrapped if the IAAF fails to provide evidence. Reflecting on her relentless struggle, she said, "Usually athletes have only one task and that is to qualify for Rio but I had two hurdles to cross (to win the case besides qualifying for Rio)." Although she is confident of putting her best performance at the world's biggest sporting spectacle, Dutee has set herself a realistic target and that is to reach the 100m finals. "I need time to achieve an Olympic medal. There is still a long way to reach that target. That dream is unlikely to happen at this Olympics because my preparations are not sufficient. I am only 20. I can still play in two to three more Olympics. I will give my best in Rio and I am confident of winning a medal for my country one day for sure," a modest Dutee said. (ANI)