Sprinter Dutee Chand says her first objective is to make it to the semifinals at Tokyo
At 25, Dutee Chand has every reason to feel proud. She is the first Indian athlete to make it to the Olympics for the second straight time in the 100m (she will also compete in the 200m), having made the cut for next month’s Tokyo Games by virtue of her world rankings.
“I am delighted even though, honestly, I was a bit worried whether I would make it because there were not too many competitions for me to protect the world rankings,” Dutee said in a chat with The Hindu.
“It will be great if I can realise my ultimate dream of an Olympic medal which is not that easy. To make it to the Olympics for the second straight time is itself a huge thing for me,” said an elated Dutee.
For the ‘pocket dynamo’, at 4 feet 11 inch, it has been a fairytale success story given the kind of adversities she has had to face both in the sport and in life.
“I owe everything to Ramesh Sir (SAI athletics coach N. Ramesh), Gopi Sir (P. GopiChand) for being with me in 2014 when everyone had written me off.
“I am also grateful to the federation, Odisha Government and the Government of India.
“They gave me a second life in athletics,” said the two-time Asian Games silver medallist.
“In Rio, I was very nervous, overwhelmed by the big names around. Now, I am more confident and know the art of running better,” said Dutee.
No change in methods
“I don’t think there is any need to be different in my training methods. What I need to produce the expected results is well taken care of by Ramesh Sir,” added Dutee.
Asked about her prospects, the sprinter said “you need a little bit of luck and good weather to start with. My first objective is to make it to the semifinals and I know it is not going to be that easy.”
“I think Dutee is more mature as compared to Rio, better understands on how to run the race and how to stay away from distractions before the Games. She is capable of pulling off a major surprise,” said coach Ramesh.
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