Dutee Chand has been the undisputed Indian queen of the track in the 100m for long. But 22-year old S. Dhanalakshmi from Trichy had other ideas when she landed here for the Federation Cup.
On Tuesday, she snapped Dutee’s winning streak extending back to 2015 with a scorching 11.39-second run to win the title. It was just a tad slower than her personal best of 11.38 set in the heats the previous day, a time that made people sit up and take note. Tuesday proved it wasn’t a fluke. Her previous best was 11.48, set at the Tamil Nadu Open Championships in January.
“I was confident before coming here, I had prepared well for this event. I was determined to win. I knew I was competing against Hima Das and Dutee but that was the extra motivation for me. The spotlight is always on them, no one bothers about the others and I was determined to change that,” she told Sportstar after the race.
It wasn’t arrogance but faith in what her coach had told her, to trust her abilities. Training under 31-year old Manikanda Arunmugam – himself a sprinter who still competes in departmental and state meets – at the Police Stadium back home, Dhanalakshmi though prefers the 200m.
“She and Elakkiyadasan (Kannadasan, second in the men’s 100m here) both started coming to the same ground as me 2-3 years ago. It began gradually but for the last one year I have taken a break to train them full-time. The only reason is to ensure they do not repeat the mistakes I made and get proper guidance. I am glad it is giving results,” Arumugam said.
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