Dutee qualifies for Rio

Dutee Chand became the first Indian to qualify for the women's 100m in Olympics as she booked a Rio berth at the G. Kosanov Memorial meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Saturday.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 26.06.16
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Dutee

New Delhi: Dutee Chand became the first Indian to qualify for the women's 100m in Olympics as she booked a Rio berth at the G. Kosanov Memorial meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Dutee will be the first Indian in 36 years to take part in the Olympics women's 100m. The legendary PT Usha had represented India in the blue-riband event in the 1980 Moscow Games. But there was no qualification system during that time.

In Almaty, Dutee first qualified for Rio with a time of 11.30 seconds in heats and then did even better in the final to clinch the silver by clocking 11.24 seconds.

Dutee's silver medal effort also saw her clipping the national record in 100 metres by 0.6 seconds, which she set in the heat. Viktoriya Zyabkina of Kazakhstan won the gold with a time of 11.15 seconds, while Bahrain's Jasim Iman Essa bagged the bronze (11.26).

Considering the fact that Dutee was completely sidelined by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) till a year ago after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had suspended the athlete for having high testosterone level in her body, it was a huge achievement.

After the IAAF ruling, Dutee's career was in jeopardy and she had to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to get herself cleared after a long and expensive legal battle. During that period, Dutee, who was promptly dropped from the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games squads, hardly received any cooperation from the AFI.

The fight, in fact, did not end there. While all others with the potential to qualify for the Olympics were sent to countries of their choice to train, Dutee remained confined to Patiala and Hyderabad under her personal coach L Ramesh.

Knowing she was close to qualification, Dutee had earlier sent a proposal to train in the US, but it was not considered by the AFI and the Sports Authority of India.

"I am indeed happy with my achievement," said Dutee from Kazakhstan. "It has been a tough year for me... I am happy that my hard work has paid off. I would like to thank all the people in India, who were praying for my qualification," Dutee said.