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Rediff.com  » Sports » Exclusive! Dutee Chand is ready to start life anew

Exclusive! Dutee Chand is ready to start life anew

May 02, 2018 10:20 IST

'An athlete is never tension-free,' India's champion athlete tells Rediff.com's Laxmi Negi.

Dutee Chand

IMAGE: Dutee Chand. Photograph Courtesy: Dutee Chand/Facebook

Diminutive Dutee Chand fought her battle against the International Association of Athletics Federations -- IAAF -- to clear her name in the hyperandrogenism rule case and won it too.

After four years of struggle, the Indian sprinter is relieved.

"It was a long struggle and I finally got a positive result," she says, unable to translate her ordeal into words.

For the doubters, Dutee no longer falls in the IAAF's -- athletics' world governing body -- new hyperandrogenism rule pertaining to female athletes who have high testosterone levels.

Those who questioned whether Dutee is male or female are finally silenced with the verdict.

Dutee competes in the 100 and 200 metres, whereas the reworked rule covers races from the 400m to the mile, including the 400m hurdles, 800m and 1500m.

The new rule, which the IAAF put under the heading 'Difference of Sexual Development' , will require athletes to reduce their blood testosterone levels if they want to compete internationally.

The 22-year-old sprint ace can compete in any women's sprint competition.

"I am training hard to come home with a gold now," the National 100 metres champion tells Rediff.com's Laxmi Negi.

 

What was your first reaction when you got the news about the new IAAF rule?

It was a long struggle and I finally got a positive result.

For me it's the best result. No one can stop me from participating now.

Earlier, I used to think about the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the thought that this would be my last race used to crop into my mind.

At least now I can just focus on training.

But Caster Semenya has nothing to cheer about.

I met Caster Semenya during the Rio Olympics. I took her number and e-mail id.

When I read about the new rule I wrote to her about my legal team.

I told her she can take their help. She replied saying her adviser will get in touch with my legal team.

Dutee Chand

IMAGE: Dutee Chand. Photograph: Dutee Chand/Facebook

So now you will be tension-free...

An athlete is never tension-free.

Earlier, I was stressed about participation.

Now the road is open for me. I can start my life anew.

Now a lot of people know me; I don't want people to talk ill about me now... that I simply made a hue and cry about nothing. I should back this result with my performance now.

There is pressure to excel now.

I don't have much time.

If I am fit, then I have 3 or 4 years left in me.

I have the Asian Games. My target will again be the 2020 Olympics and 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Are you bitter?

In 2014, everyone thought my gender was in question.

People kept saying 'Dutee ladki nahi hai, ladka hai (Dutee is not a girl, but a boy).'

People didn't know about hyperandrogenism and used to ask me, 'tu real mein kya hai? (what are you, actually?)'

There was lack of awareness and they didn't know my problem.

It is genetic; I haven't done anything.

But all those tiring times are behind me now.

I want to focus on winning medals for my country.

I have received a lot of support in my struggle and, more than anything, I am thankful.

What are your immediate goals now?

I am training hard in Hyderabad and focusing on the Guwahati Inter-State Nationals in June and Asian Games in August.

The qualifying mark for the Asian Games is 11.67 seconds for the 100 metres. I have already clocked 11.56 seconds this season, so I have qualified.

I won gold at the Asian Championships in Pune in 2013.

At my home stadium in Odisha I finished on the podium in a time of 11.52 seconds to win bronze in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar in 2016.

I am training hard to come home with a gold now.

Laxmi Negi / Rediff.com