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Suryakant Jena

News Highlights

  • Recently, Odisha government nominated Dutee for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

In 2014, few would have fathomed she would come this far. But she broke the 36 year old jinx of the barren absence of an Indian athlete in 100 metre sprint event at an Olympics by making it to the Rio edition two years later. Inspiring comeback but could not prevent disappointment. Months later, followed the talks of dead wood, but four years later, few would disagree that Dutee is India’s sprint queen of her generation.

Once an outcast from 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games due to Hyperandrogenism regulations of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the fastest Indian woman athlete now, Dutee Chand is the only participant from India who will take part in two events at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics commencing July 23. She also has the rare distinction of being the first woman sprinter from the country to have qualified for two consecutive Olympics.

In an exclusive interview to OTV’s Niranjan Reddy, Dutee now preparing for probably her last Olympic showdown, expressed her prospects of securing a medal at the mega sporting extraveganza.

“Past performances apart, I am hopeful of my fitness and confidence level at the present. Recently I even bettered my national record after much hard work, so I expect that if I can break that 11.1 second mark, I can gain entry into the Semi Finals and who knows may be a final ticket,” said Dutee.

It may be mentioned here even after breaking her own national record of fastest 100 metre sprint by clocking 11.17 seconds in the Indian Grand Prix (IGP) 4 in Patiala, Dutee initially failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics by a whisker 0.02 seconds.

She however made it to the sporting event in both 100m and 200m races via the World Rankings quota earlier this week. Twenty-two spots were up for grabs in 100m and 15 spots in 200m via the World Rankings route and Dutee's overall position of World No. 44 in 100m and World No. 51 in 200m were sufficient to make her eligible to fly to Tokyo.

Dutee explained the series of camps the national Olympic contingent will have to embrace during this Olympics which is being held amid the shadow of the Covid pandemic.

“This Olympics experience will be different than all sporting events before due to the pandemic restrictions. Earlier there was a different aspect of togetherness when we could easily meet and share our experiences, and learn from top players, coaches, legends of the sports hailing from all around the globe, but we will miss all those this time around but I expect that I can fully concentrate on my own game and win something for India,” said the sprinter.

Recently, Odisha government nominated Dutee for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour.

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