By Abhishek Upadhyay
New Delhi: After scripting history by bagging gold in the 100m race at the World University Games recently, ace India sprinter Dutee Chand said the feat was a result of the criticism she faced for expressing that she was in a same-sex relationship.
On July 10, 23-year-old Dutee clocked 11.32 seconds to clinch the gold at the World University Games in Naples, thus becoming only the second Indian sprinter to win a gold in an international event after Hima Das, who finished on top in 400m at the World Junior Athletics Championships last year.
Dutee also became the first Indian ever to win a gold in the 100m event at a global meet.
In recent past, the sprinter had revealed a lot about her personal relationship after which she became the target of many people. Talking to IANS, Dutee, however, refused talking on the matter, but asserted that her medal was an answer to her critics.
“There has been several controversies in my life since 2014. They (people) spoke against me after which I answered them with my show in Rio Olympics. Even now they were saying that I am not focusing on my game, but see, my medal gave them the answer. My sole focus is on my game,” Dutee said.
On May 19, the ace sprinter became the first Indian athlete to come out and declare that she was in a same-sex relationship with someone. Her family members strongly opposed the relationship and even warned that they will not allow Dutee to carry on under any circumstances.
When asked about the present scenario at her home, Dutee denied to speak on the matter.
After winning the gold in Naples, Dutee had said that the medal was a slap on those who discarded people from their families for being homosexual.
“The World University Games and Olympics are pretty similar as the competition is very high. World’s best athletes participate in World University Games, which makes it even more difficult.
“I am yet to achieve the Olympic qualifying mark, which is 11.15 seconds, but I have 6-7 months time and hope to achieve it with constant support,” she said.
Dutee also said that she wanted to train outside the country and reckoned that she could qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I always believe in training outside the nation. I also need good diet and nutrition which are lacking. If all these things fall in place, I could certainly perform even better and qualify for the Tokyo Games,” she added.
Dutee, however, said that the government in Odisha, her home state, was right behind her.
“This year has been going well for me. I will soon figure out how much support I need from the government and the corporates. The Odisha government has assured me every possible help and I have even handed my budget to them. I just need their green signal,” Dutee signed off.
(Abhishek Upadhyay can be contacted at [email protected])