Dutee is back with gold, Railways lead tally

Kolkata: The broad grin was back on Dutee Chand’s face as the Railways sprinter, making a comeback after winning a landmark gender case, reigned supreme on a day when three meet records were set in the 55th National Open Athletic Championship at SAI Complex here today.

Slow off the blocks, the sprinter from Odisha came into her elements midway into the 100m lane, edging past her state and teammate Srabani Nanda just before the finish line with a time of 11.68 seconds, not very far from her personal best of 11.62.

“I feel really relieved. I have been training really hard, three times a day,” Dutee said dedicating the win to sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

“He has done a lot for me when I was in a crisis situation. I also thank KIIT University and Odisha Olympic Association who have stood beside me in this ordeal,” the 19-year-old added.

The Railways sprinter, who had won 100m and 200m double in National Open Athletics Ranchi 2013, was banned since last summer after failing a hormone test.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in its July verdict, suspended the “hyperandrogenism” rules, which will be scrapped if IAAF cannot provide new evidence.

Top Indian athletes Lalita Babar (3000m steeplechase), Inderjeet Singh (shot put) justified their reputation to shatter two meet records, while a third was set by promising Haryana javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.

Having made history in last month’s World Championship where she qualified for the Olympics and became the fourth athlete to make final in a World meet, Lalita was the first to set the record in the morning when she clocked 9:39.83 en route to gold.

The timing was enough to better last year’s record of 10:08.50 by teammate Sudha Singh who stood second.

“I was extremely cautious as I did not want to injure myself but at the same time I was confident of a record and make my department proud,” the Railways athlete told PTI after her win.

Inderjeet Singh, who has also qualified for Olympics, threw 19.82 metres to erase Bahadur Singh’s 12 year old feat of 19.59.

Towards the fag end of the day, Neeraj Chopra set the third national meet record when he threw the javeliln at a distance of 77.67, bettering the previous best of 77.39 by Harminder Singh of Police. .