Struggling to control tears, sprinter Dutee Chand traced the last three years of her emotional journey from being banished by the IAAF on hyperandrogenism issue to winning two silver in the ongoing Asian Games.
“First, let me start thanking Ramesh sir (SAI athletics coach N. Ramesh) and Gopi sir (chief national badminton coach P. Gopi Chand). But for them, I would have faded away,” says Dutee on return to Gopi Academy from the Asian Games on Saturday.
Read: Dutee: 'Personally, I like my 100m medal more'
“Those were the days when I had just ₹500 in my bank account, not sure where to train after the IAAF ban. Then, it was Ramesh sir who saw to that I’m put in Gopi Academy on January 5, 2015,” said Dutee.
Biggest in life
“For me, these two silver medals (100m and 200m) in the Jakarta Asiad are the biggest things in my life. I have won many medals at National and Asian level. But, these two stand apart for the joy they give me given the traumatic phase I went through when the ban was on,” Dutee said.
Also read: When Asian Games felt like Olympics to Dutee
“I qualified for the 2014 Asiad too but had to be kept out because of the hyperandrogenism controversy. Then, I wondered whether I would be back on the track. Now, I stand here with a sense of pride,” she said.
“I am grateful to Gopi’s mother (Subbaravamma) also who treated me like her own daughter. When I had problem with the food, she gave me the freedom to cook on my own which was really helpful to me,” she recalled.
“I also sincerely want to thank my State government (Odisha), Sports Authority of India, all the support staff and all the badminton players at the academy for being so supportive to my cause,” she said.
Sharath of the Mythra Foundation-Gopichand Foundation MFGF presented cheques of ₹5 lakhs each to Dutee and Ramesh.