File picture of athlete Dutee Chand
Bhubaneswar, July 16: She was lauded for her performance at the last month’s 16th Asian Junior Athletics Championships at Taipei City, winning two gold medals for India. However, Dutee Chand has been left out of the Indian squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow that begins from July 23.
Eighteen-year-old Dutee, who has a brilliant record in the recent national and international events, had won a bronze in the Asian Athletics Championship last year during her international debut.
She had also won gold medals in women’s 200m sprint and women’s 4x100m relay in this year’s National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championship in June and two gold medals at the 12th Federation Cup Junior National Athletics Championship in Chennai in May, when she even set a national record in 100m.
The fact that she was left out from the Indian squad just before the Commonwealth Games has left the athlete as well as members of the fraternity shocked. More so, because there is a widespread apprehension that Dutee is probably the one athlete who was tested for gender suspicion by Sports Authority of India (SAI) at the Commonwealth camp in Bangalore.
“I have no clue of what is happening. They had done a blood test, but I never knew if it was for gender test or not. I do not know what went wrong. If there is a problem I am ready to improve myself or go for a cure if advised,” said Dutee.
The Athletic Federation of India (AFI) has said that they dropped Dutee since she did not meet the athletic standards set by the selection committee for Commonwealth Games.
“We have certain parameters. The top six athletes that meet those parameters are chosen for Commonwealth. Since Dutee, who is no doubt a brilliant athlete, could not qualify within the top six, she was dropped,” said Manish Kumar, chief executive officer, AFI, to The Telegraph.
“We are surprised to hear about any gender suspicion test conducted by SAI on her,” he added.
But athletes and officials in the state find it difficult to digest that after such brilliant performances at international and national events, the sprinter was dropped from the squad whereas her name featured in the initial list of selected participants.
“I am outside the state for a meeting. When I heard from Dutee that she has been dropped I was in a state of shock. The AFI or SAI has not informed us anything yet. And now there is not even enough time for us to get clarifications or protest and get her a rightful place in the list since there is only a week left for the event to begin,” said Ashirbad Behera, secretary of Odisha Athletic Association.
Olympian athlete Anuradha Biswal, too, expressed that the news came as a shock to her.
“I was jolted to hear today that Dutee is out of the Commonwealth squad. This is a huge blow to Odisha’s sports fraternity and is very discouraging for such a talented young athlete. The worst part is that there is no clarity from the national bodies about what went wrong. Hopefully, things get solved soon and Dutee proves her worth to the world again,” she said.