Ace sprinter Dutee Chand is getting the fame and recognition after her outstanding performances in the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang but there was a time when she was fighting against the system which kept her away from the track for over two years.
Dutee’s road to glory had many pit stops. Long before she made India proud and trended on Twitter after making history in Indonesia, there were countless dark nights when she nearly bid goodbye to athletics after undergoing the pain of ‘humiliating’ gender tests.
Dropped from India’s Commonwealth Games contingent in 2014 after being rendered ineligible to compete as a female athlete due to hyperandrogenism policy of the world athletics body (IAAF), the last four years of her life have not been easy for the 22-year-old Odisha athlete. She was also dropped from India’s CWG squad this year.
But was finally allowed to race again after winning her case at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) and she made the most of this to bring glory to the nation.
“2014 was very tough for me, I had prepared a lot of CWG but four days before the event, I was thrown out of the team. It was very tough and then it was said that I wasn’t a girl and it felt really bad but then I fought a case with the support of my family.
“Then I came back to the track and got success. I struggled to come here if it would have been somebody else, either they would have left sports or life,” Dutee said at India Today’s youth summit Mind Rocks 2018.
Dutee won two silver medals at the Asian Games 2018 with second place finishes in the women’s 100m and 200m finals.
The 100m medal was India’s first in the event in 20 years while the 200m silver was the first after 16 years in the event.
Dutee Chand became the first female athlete from India to win a medal in the women’s 200m final at the Asian Games in 16 years (Reuters Photo)
Success was followed by fame and recognition in India while the Orissa government also announced a Rs 3 crore cash reward for the athlete who became an overnight sensation after putting in years of hard work on the track.
All that Dutee wants now is for the government to constantly keep supporting athletes like herself so that nobody else has to go through the kind of hardships that she had to witness during her formative years.
“I have seen Usain Bolt in front at the Olympics. He’s not a machine but runs like one. These people get a huge team along with them to take care of their body but that’s not in India, so the performance suffers. The government has come out in support so I want to go abroad and train well.
“Olympics is huge and top athletes come from the world and from different countries, the body structure is also different. We are all working hard but please pray for us and keep faith in us,” Dutee went on to add.
Dutee Chand won her case at CAS against hyperandrogenism policy of the IAAF in 2016 (Reuters Photo)
Being the first athlete to fight a case against IAAF’s Hyperandrogenism rule and win it also makes her really proud of her achievements.
“With everyone’s support I have been able to achieve all this. That is why I won such a big case. Earlier if an athlete was guilty of Hyperandrogenism he/she would have been banned for life. But I was the only girl in the whole world who fought against this rule and won the case.
“Now according to rules, at least we can run 100m, 200m. We are still fighting to expand the scope of the new rule. Other athletes would have to deal with such problems,” a proud Dutee said.