Two years ago, Chand’s dreams of representing her country at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games came crashing when an indefinite ban was imposed on her, barring her from taking part in women’s competitions due to her higher levels of testosterone (hormones primarily produced by male).
Dutee fought the case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland which upheld her appeal, citing no clear cut link with higher levels of these hormones with enhancement in performance. She returned to competitions last year and broke the national record in 100m dash recently.
“I’m not able to trust anyone. I am scared that I might get trapped again. I hardly have any friends,” Dutee told reporters on the sidelines of the GAIL Indian Speedstar event.
“I prefer to train alone at SAI camp in Hyderabad. I don’t train at national camp at NIS Patiala. Some of the 4x400 relay members don’t like me. I am however in touch with M R Poovamma (top quarter-tmiler),” she added.
At the Asian Indoors in Doha in February, Dutee set a national record in 60m, clocking 7.28 seconds. She also became the first Indian woman athlete to qualify for the World Indoor Meet in Portland in the United States in March, reaching the semi-finals of the 60m.
“It was the most difficult phase of my life. I didn’t know what to do. I had no place to train but then coach N Ramesh helped me continue training and arranged for my accommodation at Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad,” said Chand, who broke the 16-year-old national record which was previously held by Rachita Mistry with 11.38 seconds, at Federation Cup here last month.
“I think it motivated me to compete in 100m race and qualify for the Rio Olympics,” said Chand, who set a national record of 11.33 secs in the Federation Cup but missed the Olympic qualification mark of 11.32secs by one-hundredth of a second. 20-year-old Dutee also won the gold in women’s 100m dash with a timing of 11.37s in the second leg of Indian Grand Prix athletics series at the NIS tracks in Patiala last week and remains confident of making the Rio Olympics cut in the upcoming events.
“I will be travelling to China for the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing on May 18, Taiwan Open International Invitational Meet on May 19-20 and Kazakhstan Open International Invitational Meet and a meet in Kyrgyzstan, both in June,” she said.
“I have done well recently. I’m confident I will qualify for Olympics there. Here, there is lack of competition for me.