Dutee Chand- The ace sprinter
The ace sprinter, Dutee Chand is the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in women’s 100-metre sprint at the 30th Summer Games in Naples, Italy. She was born in 1996 in Jajpur district of Odisha. She is from a below poverty line weavers family. In 2013, Dutee enrolled in the KIIT University to study law for her further studies. The level of success the girl has earned can only be appreciated seeing her talent. Her recent win made her the most searched name on Google. She drew her inspiration from her elder sister Saraswati Chand who competed in running at the state level. Dutee Chand became a national player when she clocked 11.8 seconds in a 100 metres event in under 18 category, 2012. In June 2014, she won two gold medals at Asian Junior Athletics Championships in 200 metres and 4x400m relays. She won two silver medal each in women’s 100m and 200m in her first Asian games by crossing the finishing line of 200m in 23.23 seconds. She became a champion under-18 after in 100 meters event.
But Dutee’s road to glory had many pit stops as well.
At 2014 Commonwealth Games Dutee was reported hyperandrogenism by the Athletic Federation. The IAAF policy on hyperandrogenism, or high natural levels of testosterone in women, was suspended following the case of Dutee Chand v. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) & The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, decided in July 2015 as they said there is a lack of evidence to prove the increased testosterone in the athlete, thus clearing Dutee’s way to race. At Rio 2016 Olympics, she became the third Indian woman to participate for the Women’s 100 metres.
Since then, Chand has been training at Hyderabad with young athletes, most notable among them is Indian Badminton Star P. V. Sindhu. In 2017, at the Asian Athletics Championships she won two bronze medals, one in the Women’s 100 metres and another in the Women’s 4×100 m relay. In 2018 Asian Games, Chand won the silver medal in the Women’s 100 metres finals, her first Asian games medal on 26 August. Today Dutee is a proud transgender athlete. In 2019 she became India’s first ever openly LGBT+ athlete as she publicly stated that she is in a same-sex relationship from a girl in her hometown. How cool!
“Everyone needs companionship. I want to be with someone I love and who loves me, and I found all this in my saathi (partner),”
says Dutee in a report published by Livemint.
She is presently employed as an executive officer in the state PSU The Odisha Mining Corporation Ltd.
Seeing the courage of 23 years old, it can be said that slowly but steadily the gender stereotypes are rooting their way out towards exit from the society. Apart from this, the new and talented athletes, the country is providing recently like the one Dutee Chand or P.V Sindhu, is clear cut proof proving the true indianness for what we call “desi pehalwan”, though notpehalwan exactly but not less than it as well.