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  Sports   In Other sports  18 Jul 2019  Dutee Chand: I am not finished

Dutee Chand: I am not finished

PTI
Published : Jul 18, 2019, 1:53 am IST
Updated : Jul 18, 2019, 1:53 am IST

Dutee said the gold was an answer to her critics, who had written her off after her admission of same-sex relationship.

Dutee Chand (Photo: AFP)
 Dutee Chand (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: Ace sprinter Dutee Chand Wednesday declared that she is not finished yet and the gold she won at the World University Games last week would spur her to achieve more despite the negative vibes from some quarters after her recent admission of same-sex relationship.

The 23-year-old Dutee became the first Indian woman track and field athlete to clinch a gold medal in the World Universiade after she won the 100m dash event in Napoli, Italy on July 9.

Dutee said the gold was an answer to her critics, who had written her off after her admission of same-sex relationship.

“Many people have commented in bad languages. They said that Dutee is now focussed on her personal life and her athletics career will be over. I wanted to let them know that I am not finished yet,” she said.

“Just like any other human being is concerned about his or her personal life, I also need to think about my personal life. That is why I came out and made everybody know about my relationship (with a girl of her village).

“But that does not mean that I will neglect my athletics career. I have done (admitted the same-sex relationship) what I thought was needed and now I am focussing on my athletics more than even before,” she added.

After winning the yellow metal at the World Universiade, she had also tweeted: “Pull me down, I will come back stronger!”

Dutee also described her history-scripting gold in the World Universiade as the “highlight” of her career but wants to keep her feet rooted to focus on the “tougher” tasks of qualifying for the World Championships and Olympics.

She is yet to qualify for both the World Championships, to be held in Doha later this year, and next year’s Olympics in Tokyo. Dutee, who holds the 100m national record of 11.24 seconds, will have to be at her best if she is to qualify for the September 27-October 6 World Championships.

“The 100m gold was my first at World level, it is my career highlight so far. But it is a tough road ahead. My target is to qualify for the World Championships and then the Olympics,” she said.

“I am overwhelmed by the congratulatory messages from so many people including such important people. But I am not going to be carried away by this (historic 100m gold at World Universiade) and I have to focus on the important events ahead,” said the Odisha runner.

The World Championships qualification timing is 11.24, which is higher than the 2017 standard of 11.26, while the Tokyo Olympics 100m qualifying time is 11.15 which is a much tougher task. Dutee ran her season’s best of 11.26 during the Asian Championships in Doha in April and she will have to at least repeat it in less than next two months’ time.

“I have not qualified for either the World Championships or the Olympics and the qualifying timings have been made more difficult this time. I have asked the AFI (Athletics Federation of India) to arrange for some meets in Asia or Europe so that I can qualify for the World Championships,” she added.

The AFI, on its part, said it's trying to give Dutee two or three meets in Asia or Europe so that she can try and qualify for the World Championships. The World Championships qualification period ends on September 6. “Dutee and her coach (N Ramesh) have requested for some meets and we are trying to arrange two or three races in either Asia or Europe. She should get them,” AFI Communication Manager Divesh Bhal said.

“Even otherwise, Dutee may get to run in the World Championships just like in the 2017 edition when she got the quota place after the total number of qualified athletes did not reach the stipulated number for the event,” he added.

“Olympics is the ultimate target and I could not do well in 2016. So I want to do better in 2020,” Dutee said.

Tags: dutee chand, same-sex relationship