Dutee Chand’s goal is not to be better than anyone else but to be better than she used to be. She was able to build a better self in all aspects, and India’s professional sprinter is going from strength to strength to show the world what she is capable of doing. Dutee Chand is a current national champion in the women’s 100 metres event.
Chand is the third Indian woman to ever cruise through for the Women’s 100 metres event at the Summer Olympic Games. She faced an early setback in her career during the 2016 Summer Olympics where her personal best, clocked 11.69s in the initial round did not steer her qualify to the next round. But that didn’t stop her from achieving what she wanted to.
In 2018 Chand announced her arrival in style when she clinched silver in women’s 100m at the Jakarta Asian Games. She hit the headlines at that time for her remarkable feat as it was India’s first medal in 20 years in this event since 1998.
Talking about her early life, Dutee Chand was born on 3 February 1996 to her parents Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji Chand in the Jajpur district of Odisha. She is from economically backward sections of the society. She is from a below poverty line weavers family.
For Chand, it was her elder sister Saraswati Chand who inspired her to the core in tough times. Saraswati Chand competed in running at a state level and she backed her young sister always. Dutee Chand’s beautiful venture sparked in 2012 when she became a national champion in the under-18 category when she clocked 11.8 seconds in the 100 metres event.
She ran like the wind and clocked 23.811 seconds to win the bronze in the Women’s 200 metres event at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships at Pune. In the same year, she became the first Indian to seal the final berth of a global athletics 100 metres final in the 2013 World Youth Championships.
In the same year itself, she became the national champion in 100 metres and 200 metres when she clinched the events at 11.73 seconds in the final in 100 metres and a personal-best 23.73 seconds in 200 metres at the National Senior Athletics Championships at Ranchi.
She continued to dominate the sport as she won two gold medals in June 2014 at Asian Junior Athletics Championships in 200 metres and 4x400m relays. She actively took part at the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in 60 metres and showcased her mettle in the qualification round where she made yet another Indian national record to her lofty standards of sprinting as she clocked 7.28 secs and went on to win the bronze medal in the final at 7.37 secs.
Dutee once again proved herself she is the best as she clocked 11.33 secs in women’s 100m dash to bag the gold outsmarting the previous national record set by Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old of 11.38 secs in the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in the national capital.
Things didn’t go down too well for Dutee when she missed the Rio Olympics qualification of 11.32 secs by one-hundredth of a second. But, it was on 25 June 2016, Dutee beat the very same National record twice in a day after achieving at 11.24 secs at the XXVI International Meeting G Kosanov Memorial at Almaty, Kazakhstan and hence she qualified for the Olympic Games.
“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.”, she exclaimed.
At Rio 2016 Olympics, she proved herself yet again as she became the third Indian woman to take part in Women’s 100 metres. In 2017, at Asian Athletics Championships she won two bronze medals, one in the Women’s 100 metre category, another in the Women’s 4×100 m relay with the likes of Srabani Nanda, Merlin K Joseph and Himashree Roy at Bhubaneswar.
In the recently-concluded Asian Games, in the Women’s 100 metres finals, Dutee Chand clinched the Silver medal which is also her first Asian games medal, clocking 11.32 sec on 26 August. Just a couple of days later, she won her second silver at the Asian games in the Women’s 200 metres final. Her silver medal in 100 m, was India’s silver medal in this category after 32 years since the legendary P.T.Usha had won in 1986.