Odisha athletes react after Dutee Chand comes out of the closet

Bhubaneswar: After Odisha athlete and India’s fastest sprinter Dutee Chand came out of the closet regarding her same-sex relationship, it has received support from other noted athletes of the State.

Athletes extended their support saying it is Dutee’s personal decision and nobody should interfere in the matter. “If she (Dutee) feels that it will be good for her to be in the relationship, nobody should interfere as it is her prerogative. Rather, everybody should support her as the apex court has also approved same-sex relationship,” said international karateka, Valena Valentina.

“I don’t think that this will affect her performance. The federations and associations should support her. Focus should be on the player’s achievement, record and dedication,” she added.

Another Odisha sprinter, Amiya Kumar Mallick, who holds the men’s 100 metres national record of 10.26 seconds, said, “It needs a lot of courage and Dutee had the guts to speak about her relationship.”

Amiya further said, “She is focusing on the forthcoming international tournament after which she may take a final decision. I don’t think it will have any negative impact on her sports career.”

Former athlete Rachita Panda Mistry, on the other hand, said, “I neither support Dutee’s same-sex relationship nor oppose it. She (Dutee) is doing what she feels good for her life.”

Parents of Dutee Chand’s partner also supported her same-sex relationship and said that they have no objection if both the girls want to get married. “I was unaware and decided to marry her off after getting the news. But, she expressed her desire to live with Dutee saying she would die if she is married to a man,” said father of Dutee’s partner.

“They are living together for the last two years. She is taking good care of her. We have no problems if they want to stay together,” said mother of Dutee’s partner.

Speaking about Chand’s same-sex relationship, Supreme Court lawyer Sarthak Nayak, said, “She can stay with the girl and can have all sorts of relationships, be it physical, mental or emotional. However, the legal sanctity of the marriage can be granted by law. Though the Supreme Court has decriminalised Section 377, it has not given legal sanctity to such marriages.”

Meanwhile, Dutee has refuted her mother’s claims of not taking responsibility or supporting her family. She said that her mother’s comments to media are false and she could have been lured to make such remarks & no one should interfere in her personal life.

Earlier, after Dutee Chand’s relationship came to the fore, her mother had blamed KIIT University for her same-sex relationship saying being a girl, how can she marry another girl. It is a conspiracy by the KIIT lecturers to usurp Dutee’s prize money, she had said. Dutee’s sister Saraswati also had made similar allegations and demanded a probe by Odisha government. They also complained that Dutee also threatened not to support them, if they do not accept her relationship.