In July 2014, when the teenager in Dutee was knitting dreams to run at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (CWG), a tumultuous development literally sent her off the rails. Her body was tested and it was found that she produced testosterone in a range associated primarily with male bodies – a condition called hyperandrogenism.
The CWG India list athletics The contingent was reduced from 33 to 32. Dutee, considered ineligible to compete in the women’s category, was withdrawn from the tournament by the Indian Athletics Federation, due to a rule by the governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics). .
Asked to take medication or undergo surgery to bring her testosterone levels within the approved range for female bodies, Dutee made a revealing statement at the time: “I’m not going to change for anyone.”
Perhaps Dutee has had this fighting attitude since childhood, when, as she recounted, TimesofIndia.com, she used to be ragged by her elders at the sports hostel. “They used to tease me by saying ‘ladka, ladka’ (boy, boy) because I had a heavy voice.”
Dutee, the daughter of a weaver couple from the village of Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha, fought all of this, plus a long legal battle against the hyperandrogenism rule, which she ended up winning after knocking on the doors of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ).
The CAS has suspended the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy.
“2014 was very difficult for me when many voices were raised against my gender…I learned that you need to stay strong because you have to fight battles in every stage of your life,” Dutee said to initiate a special interaction. with TimesofIndia. with.
Recalling this phase of her life made her a little emotional, although she never lost her smile when talking about her ordeal.
And she’s finally heading to her first Commonwealth Games now, scheduled to start in Birmingham on July 28th.
After a forced exclusion in 2014, Dutee also failed to make the 2018 CWG on the Gold Coast. In Birmingham, she will fulfill that dream as part of the women’s 4x100m relay team from India.
Dutee Chand, the Pride of India. National records, medals and our hearts ❤️ – here’s everything you need to know… https://t.co/otRNKBHdWC
– Olympic Khel (lympOlympicKhel) 1654076700000
WHY DUTEE IS COMPETING ONLY IN ONE EVENT (RELAY) ON CWG 2022?
Dutee’s times did not meet the standards for inclusion in his pet event – 100m. However, she explained that she was targeting the Asian Games in China, which were unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19, more than the CWG.
“I was basically preparing more for the Asian Games. The coach said that we have a better chance of winning a (individual) medal at the Asian Games. We weren’t thinking much about the CWG. But when the Asian Games was postponed, the coach said that now there is much less time to get up to speed (must be competitive in the 100m at the CWG).
“At the CWG, it’s hard to finish between medals in the 100m, where athletes with personal best times of 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 seconds compete. My body at this stage is not in that range. But at the Asian Games, you can be among the medalists with a time of 11.2 or 11.3. Last time (in 2018) I scored 11.32 for the medal (silver in the 100m at the Asian Games in Jakarta)”, she shared with TimesofIndia.com.
Dutee, in fact, won two silver medals at the 2018 Asiad. The second was in the 200m event with a time of 23.20 seconds. And that turned Dutee into a bigger star. Four years before that, she also won gold at the Asian Junior 200m Championships in Taipei in 2014.
(Photo: Dutee Chand Twitter)
CONTROVERSIES AND DOUBTS
But the controversial talking points always seemed to go hand in hand with Dutee – from the 2020 BMW controversy where she put her car up for sale to raise funds for training, to her love-hate relationship with the Odisha government to the latest revelation that she was subjected to ragging during her sports hostel days.
A revelation in May 2019 put Dutee in the eye of a storm of criticism.
she made it same sex relationship public, and a “backlash” ensued.
“In 2019, when I made my homosexuality and relationship with my partner public, I faced a lot of backlash for a few months. Many people started to oppose me, many institutions criticized me saying that our culture does not accept same-sex relationships. were again being raised against my gender,” said the 26-year-old. TimesofIndia. with.
Dutee made a brave face, took tough questions on her chin, but never backed down on who she is and who she wanted to be. In fact, she decided to wear her identity with pride. The hardest part – of announcing to the world who she was – is over. Now, it was about weathering a storm.
“Most athletes fight (compete) only on the track, but we (gays) have to fight battles in our personal lives and also on the track. But I’m used to that now (smiles).
Always focus on everything you love about yourself every day. Tell yourself how proud you are for how hard… https://t.co/ATI57Sa3lE
– Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) 1653365590000
Has this opposition she faced from various people regarding her relationship turned into acceptance in the last three years? Dutee says she does, save for a few missed and nasty social media posts here and there.
“The women around me support me now. I have no problem with that. But there are instances on social media where my name is used to create controversy, people make bad comments about me.
“But in real life, whenever I go out, nobody talks like that. They just ask ‘when are you going to marry your partner?'” (smiles).
Same-sex marriage has not yet been legalized in India. The case is still pending in court. Therefore, same-sex couples in India cannot enter into a registered marriage by law. In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality.
Last December in Hyderabad, a gay couple took their wedding vows in front of family and friends. Earlier this month, a gay couple in Kolkata tied the knot in a traditional ceremony, with photos of their wedding taking social media by storm. It was the first public gay wedding in Kolkata.
(Photo: Dutee Chand Twitter)
Dutee has all this information as she plans to marry her partner after the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“There is a plan to make my relationship permanent (with marriage) but I’m still playing games, I’m not at home most of the time. I’m at camps or traveling to compete. So I told her (my partner) that our relationship will continue and after the 2024 Olympics we will see what we want to do in life. She is only 22 and I am 26. So I hope to play well for the next 2-3 years and then see” said Dute.
Will the couple settle abroad while the fight to legalize same-sex marriages is still ongoing in Indian courts?
“There’s no such plan yet… I’ll think about all this after the Paris Olympics. It also depends on my partner, what she thinks about it two years from now.”
Regarding the possibility of marrying your same-sex partner, Dutee said, “When I checked with my lawyers, they said that you can’t do a judicial marriage (register according to the law), but you can marry that way. .it usually happens in our villages and temples. You will not receive a marriage certificate from the court. This case is pending. But if the two families are well and supportive, you can get married.” Dutee added when talking to TimesofIndia. with.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE CWG 2022
For now, however, Dutee’s focus is firmly on the 4x100m relay in Birmingham.
Others on the CWG relay team are Srbani Nanda, Hima Das, Dhanalakshmi Sekar, MV Jilna and MS Simi.
Barring injuries, Dutee, Srabani, Hima and Dhanalakshmi are the four who will be on the track for India in Birmingham.
– Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) 1651066612000
“If you look at the women’s 4x100m relay, all four of us are scoring almost the same time,” Dutee said.
“In interstate competition recently, Hima Das clocked 11.43 seconds (in the 100m final), Sarabani Nanda 11.53, I scored 11.40 in heats and semifinals. Dhanalakshmi ran 11.26 in Turkey last February-March. We expect to finish with a time of 42.90 or better, which should put us with a chance to be on the podium.” said Dute.
But who races in which stage will be decided closer to the event’s scheduled date, largely based on current form and the best of the season.
“It’s about your best season, what your current moment is and the experience of racing together,” Dutee said in response to the question.
“The coach decides based on that. It will be decided about 10 days before the event. As of now (in training), I am starting the relay, Hima Das is in the second leg, Dhanalakshmi in the third and Srabani Nanda in the final stretch. ”
On a personal note, Dutee said: “From a physical point of view, I’m much fitter than I was before. I’ve clocked 11.38, 11.40, 11.44 frequently recently and have competed in a total of 15 races so far. this year.”
DUTEE CLAIMS THAT STATE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT IS REDUCING
One reason Dutee was despondent during the conversation was declining support from the Odisha government, as she claims.
“Before I was getting a lot of financial support, but currently they (the Odisha government) are not supporting me very much financially,” Dutee said during his conversation with Timesofindia.com.
(Dutee Chand taking a selfie with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik – Twitter Photo)
“According to the Odisha government policy introduced in 2016, any international athlete (from the state) who represents the country in a major competition receives financial support.
“I also asked once, ‘You made this policy to support us, so why isn’t it being made?’ They said that “the number of (young) athletes has now grown. If we give to everyone, then we will have to give a lot of funds. The government (of Odisha) doesn’t have much. We developed all this infrastructure, so anyone who wants to use it can do it.”
Dutee claims that she had made an application for a training fund of Rs 20 lakh but was refused.
“I asked for Rs 20 lakh, not much,” she said.
THE THREAT OF DOPING – MONEY PRIZES A BAIT FOR YOUTH
Dutee ended the conversation with a word of caution about the threat of doping in sports, especially track and field.
She suggested that prize money and allocated funds sometimes become an attraction for young athletes, who then try to improve their performance through drugs.
“With private sponsors coming in and athletes starting to receive money and financial support from the government, young athletes, in an effort to get better quickly, are drawn to (performance-enhancing) drugs,” she said.
“Children aren’t very aware of these things, but some of the people around them on the team tell them ‘if you win a medal, you’ll get money from here and there, after that you can leave the sport, not matter’.
“Doping is more prevalent at the domestic level in India than in international tournaments…NADA (National Anti-Doping Agency) has done a lot to address the doping issue. Still, some get caught, while others don’t,” Dutee said. TimesofIndia. with.