Dutee Chand has been blazing a trail for Indian athletics ever since she appeared on the scene a few, short years ago. The sprinter, the first public gay athlete from India, made chronicles in 2019 at the World Universiade in Naples when she became the first Indian to secure gold in a 100m game at a global tournament. From modest beginnings to be the cause célèbre of gender strife to becoming the first Indian woman in 36 years to be honoured with the Arjuna Award for a sprint event at the Olympics. This blog is all about the journey of Dutee Chand.
Coming from a family of weavers in Odisha, Duteee Chand was encouraged to take up running because of her sister Saraswati. The journey of Dutee Chand has been full of ups and downs, but she kept her faith and did not give up.
She now owns the national account in the Women’s 100m and is the 5th Indian to compete in the Women’s 100 meters at the Olympics.
This Blog Includes:
Dutee Chand – The Sprinter
Dutee Chand became the 1st Indian woman to become a track and field sprinter who won a gold medal at the World Universiade after completing the 100m dash event. The 23-year-old Dutee took a total of 11.32 seconds to accomplish the gold.
Dutee Chand commences in action, two years ago, at a series of exhibitions that were ready to declare her forbidden as an athlete, since the field is overflowing with male athletes. She said, “I want to remain who I am and compete again.” She won a case against the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) and went on ahead to become the first Indian woman to suit for a sprint event at the Olympics.
The journey of Dutee Chand will now take a new turn as she will be be stewarding India in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. She is the contemporary national victor in the women’s 100m tournament and the 3rd Indian woman to ever be certified for the Women’s 100m meet at the Summer Olympic Games. She has acquired silver and gold at Asian Games and Universiade and has several honors to her prestige.
On 25 June, Chand won the silver medal in the women’s 100m sprint at the Kosanov Memorial International Athletic Meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan, notching 11.24 seconds, well within the 11.32-second Olympic qualification norm.
She simultaneously also broke the national record in 100m twice.
The journey of Dutee Chand has come full circle now. “It really is a wonderful feeling,” Chand stated over the phone from Almaty. “In 2014, I was confused and depressed. I had been thrown out of the national camp. I was being taunted and shamed. And now I’m going to the Olympics. It’s amazing.”
She was also awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award this year, an honour bequeathed to acknowledge prominent sports accomplishments. The grant was started in 1961 and offers a cash reward of INR 5L, a bronze sculpture of Arjuna, and a scroll.
“I qualified for Arjuna Awards criteria for many years as I have been winning for India for several consecutive years at the international level. Being chosen finally has given me immense happiness. I am glad to be able to represent my home state Odisha and be recognized at the national level,” she stated with a contagious smirk in acknowledgement of the honour.
Chand’s LGBT Struggle
The journey of Dutee Chand is incomplete without mentioning her LGBT struggle. She is India’s first sprinter to come out as a delegate of the LGBTQ+ society publicly. She talked about being in a homosexual relationship in 2019. Dutee disclosed that the Supreme Court Of India’s iconic judgment to legitimize gay sex in 2018 motivated her to comment openly about her sexual identity.
Her confession has brought in a lot of critique and controversy. Dutee decided to share that she had been unable to leave her house for about fifteen days due to peer strain after her testimony.
“Everyone knows that I am a straight forward person, so I had no fear in confessing that I happen to love a girl from my village. But small towns and the majority of the population did not take my life decision positively. I had to face a lot of backlash for this. For 15 days I could not leave my house. Even the media was highlighting the issue a lot. Thankfully I received immense support as well and could win over the negativity. To date, our families are not very happy about my love life, but it is what it is,” she stated with a hefty exhalation.
Much of her life has been in difficulty, the journey of Dutee Chand has been a difficult one, but her perseverance is what stood by her. Whether it’s a gracious upbringing or a hyperandrogenic uproar, or the consequences of becoming gay in a conservative culture, she never let any uproar or negativity affect her and kept her chin up.
Getting Ready For Olympics
Just like the rest of the world, the pandemic and the lockdown has had a big impact on her as well. The quarantine has affected her preparations for the Olympics. Dutee continues to take challenges and reach Kalinga Stadium each day without failing to groom on her own for the Olympics. This is what makes the journey of Dutee Chand so interesting, not giving up no matter what the circumstances are.
“I am not in the best of my shape right now. The Olympics will need a lot of preparation. My entire team is working from home and guiding me virtually. I am going to the stadium every day and spending hours in the field and gym. Let’s hope for the best.”
An Example Of Women Empowerment
Dutee asserts that sport is the only domain where hard work pays justifiably. Besides being a sportswoman, she is also appointed as an executive officer in the state PSU, Odisha Mining Corporation Limited. She is the true embodiment of women empowerment and continues to promote the idea of women stepping out of their homes and working in the field of their interest.
“Girls should know that sports do not involve any form of unfairness or compromise. The only thing one needs is hard work and determination to achieve. Nothing can stop you if you give your best.”
This was all about the journey of Dutee Chand. We, at Leverage Edu, wish Dutee Chand all the success in the coming Olympics and the life beyond that. We hope through this blog that we have successfully brought forth the hard work and conviction of Dutee Chand. Inspired by the success story of the 1st Indian women’s track and field sprinter? At Leverage Edu, we aspire to provide a pathway towards top-notch learning and produce more such heroes of contemporary India. Connect with our experts for a career counselling session today and stay tuned for more such inspirational real-life stories!