There are many stories that serve as the bread and butter for the motivation seekers. From coming through a poverty-stricken background and making something big in life, from being a victim of a certain medical condition to conquering the world and many more. So is the story of Dutee Chand, the ace Indian athlete. The national record holder in the 100 m category (sprint) is no less than a mountain of courage and determination. Here’s the heart-wrenching tale of Dutee Chand, India’s very own golden girl…
Date of Birth
3rd February, 1996
Akhuji Chand, Chakradhar Chand
Dutee Chand Biography
Dutee was born on the 3rd of February, 1996 to Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji Chand who were weavers. With six siblings in the family, Dutee and her family spent most of her childhood in the coastal town of Gopalpur. One thing to be noted here is Dutee was born in Jajpur, Odisha. Dutee’s family belonged to the below poverty line class of income.
With six siblings around you, there is always something to look upon and learn. Dutee, at the age of 4, was inspired by her sister Saraswati who used to run on the banks of the Brahmani river.
Destiny played a part in Sarawati’s career as she went on to become a national level sprinter. Eventually, Saraswati got settled with a job in the police department.
Though this is not the case with today’s India, Dutee then had to face certain barriers for being a female with different aspirations that what was thought as the to-do job for women. With changing times, thankfully, the mentality is nearly zero in the society. At the age of 10, Dutee was called ‘tomboy’ for having the aspirations acceptable to boys only.
It takes years of hard work to have overnight success. Dutee had to run on barefoot during training as her monetary condition couldn’t afford her to buy one. But the success gods were gracious enough to land her an opportunity with a sports scholarship at a government school in Bhubaneshwar.
Scripts of glory
Major achievements of Dutee Chand
Fighting all the way through the troubled waters in childhood, Dutee has now made it big in athletics.
It was in 2012 when Dutee Chand made it to the headlines. She timed 11.8 seconds in the 100 metres category. And suddenly, she was the talk of the town for setting the national record. Dutee accomplished this feat at National Youth (under – 18) Junior Athletics Championships held at Sri Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru. The record was until then was held by R. Mahanta (12.08 seconds).
The 2013 Asian Athletics championships, 20th edition of the biennial athletics competition between Asian nations, was held in Pune, India. The event saw Dutee bag bronze medal in the 200 metres category. Dutee clocked 23.82 seconds and was preceded by India’s Asha Roy (Silver, 23.71 seconds) and Viktoriya Zyabkina of Kazakhstan (Gold, 23.62 seconds)
The 2013 World Youth Championships in Athletics saw Dutee Chand set an unprecedented record for India. She became the 1st Indian to reach the final of 100 meters category. In the same year, the National Senior Athletics Championships at Ranchi saw Dutee become the national champion in the 100 metres (clocking 11.73s in the final) and 200 metres (clocking 23.73s).
In June of 2014, Dutee dominated the Asian Junior Athletics Championships held in Taipei, Republic of China. She won gold in the 200 metres category (23.74 s) and also won gold in the 4 X 400 metres relay. The relay unit in that race consisted of Dutee Chand, Jisha V.V, Jessy Joseph, Vijaya Kumari G.K. The combined time was 3 minutes 40.53 seconds.
Dutee’s “Being Myself”
The tale of hardship returns: The Hyperandrogenism Controversy
Dutee was probably at the peak of her career. The expectations around her potential were so enormous that the then Director-General of the Sports Authority of India described her as a sure shot Olympic medallist of the future.
Then came in a huge blow in Dutee’s career. With barely a fortnight left for the opening ceremony of the CWG 2014 opening ceremony, Dutee was axed from the Indian contingent after she failed a “test”. Dutee’s natural levels of testosterone were normally found in men. It wasn’t doping nor a fitness-related issue which were the predominant reasons for athletes being sacked. The decision was made in compliance with regulations on “female hyperandrogenism” under the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The committee asked her to undergo surgery for correction but Shruti was defiant.
Following the decision, the Athletics Federation of India and International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) faced the heat of taking such a decision.
Santhi Sounadrajan, an Indian middle-distance runner came in to assist Dutee with an unconditional support. Shanti in a statement to The Hindu condemned the last-minute axing-
“They have tested her at the last minute, humiliated her and broke her heart. All sorts of things have been written about her. Now, if she re-enters the sports field, things will not be normal. Even if she takes treatment, people will kill her with their suspicious gaze.”
“She is a future Olympian. If India needs an athletics medal at the Olympics, Dutee is the best hope. It is the duty of every Indian to ensure that she runs again. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to be lenient in these matters,”
Defying the odds
The fighter in Dutee was unwilling to give up. Chand appealed before the Court of Arbitration for sports challenging the decision taken by the Sports Authority of India and IAAF. In a landmark judgement, the court delivered the verdict in favour of Dutee Chand. There was suspension IAAF policy on hyperandrogenism following the case. The rule has been revamped.
It was a tremendous couple of years for Dutee Chand. Life went topsy-turvy in those two years.
Dutee went on to win a bronze medal in 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships held in Doha, Qatar. She won it in the 60 m category clocking 7.28 seconds.
During the Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in 2016, New Delhi Dutee shattered Rachita Mistry’s then 16-year-old record of 11.38 s in 1oo metres category. Dutee clocked 11.33 s to win the gold medal.
Dutee made a remarkable achievement at the G. Kosanov Memorial Meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She clocked an impressive 11.30 seconds in the 100 metres category crossing the 11.32 seconds qualifying mark set for the Rio Olympics.
“I am really happy at the moment. It has been a tough year for me and I am so happy that my coach … and my hard work has paid off. I would like to thank all the people in India who were praying for me to qualify. Your wishes have paid off.” – Dutee in an ecstatic statement after qualifying for the Rio Olympics.
In 2017 Asian Athletic Championships, Dutee won two bronzes. One in the women’s 100 metres and the other in women’s 4 X 100 metres relay.
The 2018 Asian Games saw Dutee Chand win the silver medal, her first medal in Asian Games, in the Women’s 100 metres final. In the same tournament, Dutee bagged silver again, this time, for Women’s 200 metres final.
Gold at Summer Universiade
Chand won a gold medal in the 2019 Summer Universiade, Napoli in the 100 metres category. By winning the medal, Dutee eventually became the first Indian woman sprinter to win gold at the Universiade. Dutee became the second Indian sprinter after Hima Das to win gold in an international event. Hima Das accomplished this feat by winning gold in the 400 metres category at the World Junior Athletics Championships, 2018 that took place in Tampere, Finland.
In the 59th National Open Athletics Championships, Dhutee broke her own national record by clocking 11.22 seconds in the 100 metres category. Certainly, Dutee is challenging herself to push beyond.
Defying the stereotypes: Dutee’s Way
Post Supreme Court of India’s historic decision of decriminalising gay sex (the decision was ruled in 2018), Dutee publicly revealed that she is in a same-sex relationship. Dutee, hence became the first sportsperson in India to openly acknowledge being gay. Things didn’t turn out to be so peaceful for her. She faced a revolt within the family and localities from the village she belonged to.
“I had been supporting her all along for her special interest in sports but … we belong to a traditional weaver community, which does not permit such things. How can we face our relatives and society?”
–Dutee’s mother’s statement to Indian Express
The localities of Gopalpur also came down very hard on the ace athlete. Dutee’s same-sex partner comes from the same village.
“I am having a relationship with a 19-year-old woman from my village [Chaka Gopalpur] for the past five years” – Dutee in a statement to reporters from Hyderabad. She is currently training in Hyderabad.
But Dutee’s revelation has been by many people across the country, across different fraternities.
Family: Dutee Chand
Dutee’s was born to Akhuji Chand and Chakradhar Chand, who were weavers by profession, in the Jajpur district of Odisha. Dutee was not the only child in the family. She had six siblings, 5 sisters and 1 brother. Dutee lived most of her life in poverty owing to the fact that her parents belonged to the below poverty line class of income.
A story worthy so worthy that everyone should know
Dutee Chand’s career has been full of hiccups. Right from being banned in 2014 to facing backlash from people very close after she revealed her same-sex relationship, Dutee has shown an incredible resilience which is a quality which a very few possess. Dutee’s is a glorious story through troubled waters which everyone should know.
— Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) October 19, 2019
Social Media: Dutee Chand
#Odisha is growing fast, be it sports or governance. I was extremely glad to see VK Pandian Ji celebrating Diwali in sports hostels and encouraging young sportspersons.Also, I have particularly expressed my willingness to help the ones who need it. @CMO_Odisha#HappyDiwali2019 pic.twitter.com/mmyPUAfJyM
— Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) October 27, 2019
Light of a lamp of love, Blast a chain of sorrow, Shoot a rocket of prosperity and give the flowerpot of happiness. Happy Deepavali.
ପବିତ୍ର ଦୀପାବଳି ଉପଲକ୍ଷେ ମୋ ତରଫରୁ ଶୁଭକାମନା ଓ ଅନେକ ଅନେକ ଶୁଭେଚ୍ଛା ।#ଦୀପାବଳି ?? pic.twitter.com/56LrapBQF5
— Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) October 26, 2019