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A two-time Olympian and 100m national record holder, Dutee Chand has been a trail blazer for Indian athletics ever since she burst onto the scene in 2013.

The sprinter, the first openly gay athlete from India, scripted history in 2019 at the World Universiade in Naples when she became the first Indian to clinch gold in a 100m event at a global meet.

Dutee Chand is only the fifth Indian to participate in the women's 100 metres at the Olympics when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Games.

Hailing from Odisha, Dutee Chand comes from a weavers’ family and was inspired to take up running because of sister Saraswati.

But she faced hardships most of her life; whether it was the humble upbringing or the hyperandrogenism controversy or the repercussions of coming out gay in a conservative society.

"From a girl who used to run barefoot around a lake to becoming a sportsperson recognized across the world, it’s been a long, hard journey," Dutee says. "People now see me for my sport, for my hard work and for what I stand."

Dutee Chand first broke into the scene by becoming a national champion in the under-18 category in the 100m event in 2012. This was followed by impressive displays at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships, the World Youth Championships and the National Senior Athletics Championships at Ranchi.

And with two gold medals at the 2014 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taipei, she was set to make the first significant step in her international career.

However, difficulties were around the corner. Dutee Chand was preparing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games when the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) decided to drop her from the athletics contingent at the last minute, citing that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a woman athlete.

She was, however, eventually cleared to race. Dutee Chand appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2015 and her suspension was lifted.

Dutee Chand returned to the track and promptly set a national record in the 60-metre event’s qualification round at the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships with 7.28 seconds.

Her route to the 2016 Olympic qualification was the next big highlight of her career.

Despite clocking 11.33 seconds in the women's 100m dash at the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships, where she broke Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old national record to win a gold medal, she missed the Rio 2016 qualification cut-off by one-hundredth of a second.

However, the Indian sprinter broke her own national record twice on the same day at the XXVI International Meeting G. Kosanov Memorial in Kazakhstan a couple of months later. She clocked 11.24 seconds and sealed her maiden Olympic berth.

Her Rio 2016 campaign, though, ended early in the heat stages but it was a valuable experience for the then 20-year-old.

Dutee Chand’s two medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta were also significant achievements. Her silver in the women's 100m was India’s first medal in the event at the continental showpiece since Rachita Mistry’s bronze at Beijing 1998.

Before Dutee, the legendary PT Usha was the last Indian woman to win a 100m Asian Games silver medal way back in 1986.

Her second silver medal came three days later in the women's 200 metres final, which came to India 16 years after Saraswati Saha’s gold in that category in 2002.

Dutee Chand extended the momentum into the following year when she won a gold medal at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Napoli, becoming the first Indian ever to do so in a global meet.

She had also decided to come out as gay that year by declaring publicly that she was in a same-sex relationship.

Dutee Chand could not achieve the qualifying time for Tokyo 2020, but her world ranking helped her make a second Olympic appearance in the women’s 100m and 200m.

Though she bowed out in the heats in both events, Dutee Chand has been spearheading a slow, but steady revolution of Indian athletics and will look to pave the way in the years to come.


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