She is the Asian Games silver medallist in the 100 and 200m and was expected to win both the events comfortably at the National inter-university athletics championships in Bhubaneswar but strangely Dutee Chand pulled out of the 200m final on Thursday.
That robbed the Nationals of a wonderful rivalry, for quartermiler Priya H. Mohan had shocked Dutee, the World University Games' 100m champion, a day earlier in the 200m semifinal.
Did Dutee develop cold feet and avoided running against Priya again? Or was there an injury worry?
But N. Ramesh, Dutee's coach, explained that he did not want his star athlete to strain too much with many majors lined up this year.
“We don't want to exert more, we have the big season ahead of us. Our off-season is going on now, why should we take the risk. Even after 100m, I asked her whether she wanted to run the 200m,” Ramesh told Sportstar from Bhubaneswar.
“We will be focusing more on the 100m because she clocked 11.44s in her season-opener on a new track... that's a good sign.”
Does that mean she will be skipping the 200m at the majors?
“Let's see how things go because 100-200 is a nice combination but we need to be very careful in choosing things, especially when big events are coming. We need the 200m to train for the 100. But in races, whether she is running 200 or not, it's our choice,” said Ramesh.
“We will also have to see how the conditions are. It's important to take meet-based decisions.”
But Arjun Ajay, Priya's coach, was disappointed with Dutee's pullout.
“Had Dutee been there, Priya would have run a better timing. We lost our enthusiasm when we realised that Dutee was not there,” said Arjun.
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