The humiliation of 2014 has not faded in the last three years. Dropped from the Indian contingent at the last minute, Dutee Chand goes into reminiscence every time her failing hyperandrogenism case is mentioned. Despite all support and a CAS decision that allowed her a winning return to the track since then, the 21-year old sprinter continues to bide her time for the Commonwealth Games, the event she missed back then.
Here for a short break from training at her base in Hyderabad, the Odisha athlete admits the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, followed by the Asian Games, were her biggest targets at the moment. “Since there was no competition right now, I decided to come here for a few days and train. But my big target is the Commonwealth Games. Last time wahin se nikala tha na (I was thrown out of that competition only last time),” she said in an interaction here, the hurt still evident.
Asked if CWG meant more to her than just another tournament, Dutee agreed. “It is important for me to go out there and settle all past issues and wipe the slate clear. I am not sure but the Federation Cup next year (in March) is likely to be the qualifying event. I would just like to go out there and perform at the CWG,” she added.
Dutee is being assisted in her objective by Pullela Gopichand, who is funding her training, and had recently invited a few German experts to work on her actions. “Coach Laurent from Germany came before the Asian Championship (in July) and gave a few tips on where I was going wrong or getting tired and not gaining speed. I worked on these things with my coach (Nagapuri Ramesh) during training. The detailed planning will happen after the inter-university games this month and before I leave for the Asian Indoor Championships. They have promised me a spot in the final at SWG and a medal at Asiad. It will be a long-term collaboration till 2024 Olympics,” she explained.
She would also be travelling to Sweden before the Tehran event to train and work on her niggles. “My technique is fine, only my hips were lifting a bit too high and I have worked on it. But such visits will only be brief to work out any errors. I have grown up here, all my medals came from training here and while the facilities may not be as world-class, there is good support and coaches here,” she insisted.
The hard yards are being put in. Dutee trains for six hours a day, four in the morning on the track and two in the evening in the gym, interspersed with an hour or two of recovery session. But she knows that alone won't be enough. “No one participates to lose but sometimes things like weather are not in your control. I do what I can do best, rest we will see,” she smiled away.
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