Dutee Chand keen to change sprint technique, wants TOPS inclusion

Dutee Chand is hopeful of going to Florida to train in an academy to correct her technique in 100 meters as her body "gets tight at the last moment" when she runs.

Dutee Chand is keen to work on her technique as she feels she has "shortcomings at every stage".   -  Biswaranjan Rout

India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand said on Friday that she is keen to train in an academy in Florida to “change her technique in 100 metres” and is optimistic of getting the required funds from the government.

“I had planned to go to Florida but the government did not provide funding. That’s why I didn’t go. I plan to go next year and now I am training in Hyderabad,” said the Odisha sprinter.

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Asked why she needed to change her technique, Dutee explained, “100 metres is a technical event, so you have to focus on every detail. From start to finish. I have shortcomings at every stage. So I can get more exposure from those people (foreign trainers).”

“Basically, when I run, my body gets tight at the last moment. I still don’t know why it happens. So, I will have to correct that.”

Hopeful of TOPS inclusion

Dutee, who won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, said she will approach new sports minister Kiren Rijiju to request for her inclusion in the TOPS scheme.

“I had appealed to (Rajyavardhan) Rathore sir (the previous sports minister), and he said he will do it. Now the minister has changed, so I will have to approach him again.”

“Everyone keeps telling we will do it but it hasn’t happened so far. Our government’s train runs very slow. Jab station mein lagega tab chadenge. (When it halts at the station then I will board it),” she said.

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Dutee, who is gearing up to take part in the World University Games to be held in Italy next month, won a landmark ‘gender’ case against the IAAF in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in 2015 and was allowed to compete after being suspended for one year.

The CAS suspended the IAAF’s policy on hyperandrogenism for two years. Later the world body changed the policy, which is now applicable only for female athletes competing in the range of 400m to 1500m, leaving out Dutee, who competes in 100m and 200m, from its ambit.

Asked about South African Caster Semenya’s case, Dutee said, “When it was announced, I spoke to Caster. I told her that if you need any help my team will help you to fight the case. So with the help of my team, she appealed.”

Disturbance in training

Dutee said that she could not train properly for a while after revealing to the world that she is in a same-sex relationship.

The sprinter, one of the few athletes in the world to openly admit to this type of relationship, did admit that things have settled down now after the initial turmoil.

“My training was disturbed a lot initially. I couldn’t train properly at least for 10-15 days after that,” said Dutee, adding, “But now, I’m starting to forget everything and getting back to my training. I’ve received a lot of support from the public and it has made me feel comfortable.”

Asked if she had expected a positive reaction from the public, she said, “I didn’t expect anything. But by God’s grace, there’s been no such thing.”

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“AFI, SAI, everyone has supported me, saying it’s your personal life and no action will be taken due to it. In fact, they told me to train well.”

Dutee, who won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, said that “the more the people speak badly” about her “the more she focuses on her training.”

She insisted that coming “out of the closet” was her personal decision. “That’s my personal life, I can’t guarantee if people want to follow that or not. Not everyone thinks alike in this world.”

Quizzed whether athletes will be inspired by her decision, Dutee said, “I had suffered for the problems in 2014, but I felt good after coming back. Not just me, athletes around the world who were being stopped from competing are now being given a chance. So that’s good.”