I want to get back into TOP: Sprinter Dutee Chand

Kolkata: Cleared to compete after being embroiled in a gender controversy, Indian sprinter Dutee Chand on Wednesday said her main aim now was to produce an impressive performance at the 55th National Open Athletic Championship here and get back into the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.

Chand was banned last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as her body produced testosterone at levels which were deemed higher than the limits for women sports persons.

But the Court of Arbitration for sport recently cleared the sprinter by suspending the “hyperandrogenism” rules, which may also be scrapped if the IAAF fails to provide evidence.

“Through this meet, I want to put my best foot forward and hope I can get back into the TOP scheme, by putting a good performance here. I was removed from the scheme following the case,” Chand told reporters here on Wednesday.

“I have been competing… in Hyderabad, I clinched gold a few days back, before that I had bagged a silver. So, I have been practising hard and hope I will do better here,” she added.

Chand was a notch above the rest in the heats, which showed her good form of late. “I have a personal best of 11.63 … 11.60 is the new target and for 200 metres I would look to do it under 24 seconds,” she said.

The 19-year-old, who is coached by Nagpuri Ramesh, said presently she is training at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.

“I now train at the Gopichand academy in Hyderabad. After the case I was not allowed to train with other athletes and so I had to go there. They have supported me all through and helped me,” she said.

The sprinter also complained about the track at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) here, saying that it was very hard.