India’s star sprinter Dutee Chand clocked 11.49s to win the 100m gold at the Khelo India University Games in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.
Dutee Chand’s quest for an Olympic berth began in fine fashion as she stormed to a dominating win in the 100m event at the Khelo India University Games here on Saturday. Running in lane 3, she clocked 11.49s to bag the gold, setting a new Inter-University record in the process.
“I am very happy because this is the first time I have begun the year so well. And I hope to shave off at least 0.10 seconds in my upcoming races,” she said, surrounded by an army of cameras, all eager to snap a byte with the local star.
Dutee was the first to get off the blocks and ran a comfortable race, powering her way past second-placed Dhanalakshmi S of Mangalore University, who clocked 11.99s. Representing host KIIT University here, Dutee ran 11.61s in the semifinal earlier in the day.
Who is Dutee?
Dutee Chand has been blazing a trail for Indian athletics ever since she burst onto the scene a few, short years ago.
The sprinter, the first openly gay athlete from India, scripted history in 2019 at the World Universiade in Naples when she became the first Indian to clinch gold in a 100m event at a global meet.
She also holds the national record in the women’s 100m and is only the fifth Indian to participate in the women’s 100 metres at the Olympics when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Games.
Hailing from Odisha, Dutee Chand comes from a weavers’ family and was inspired to take up running because of sister Saraswati.
But she has faced hardships most of her life; whether it was the humble upbringing or the hyperandrogenism controversy or the repercussions of coming out gay in a conservative society.
“From a girl who used to run barefoot around a lake to becoming a sportsperson recognized across the world, it’s been a long, hard journey,” she says. “People now see me for my sport, for my hard work and for what I stand.”
Dutee Chand first broke into the scene by becoming a national champion in the under-18 category in the 100m event in 2012. This was followed by impressive displays at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships, the World Youth Championships and the National Senior Athletics Championships at Ranchi.
And with two gold medals at the 2014 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taipei, she was set to take her first significant step in her international career.