Games & medals
Rio de Janeiro 2016
|#7 h5 r2/4||Athletics||100 metres|
Dutee CHAND biography
Dutee Chand has been blazing a trail for Indian athletics ever since she burst onto the scene a few, short years ago.
The sprinter, the first openly gay athlete from India, scripted history in 2019 at the World Universiade in Naples when she became the first Indian to clinch gold in a 100m event at a global meet.
She also holds the national record in the women’s 100m and is only the fifth Indian to participate in the women's 100 metres at the Olympics when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Games.
Hailing from Odisha, Dutee Chand comes from a weavers’ family and was inspired to take up running because of sister Saraswati.
But she has faced hardships most of her life; whether it was the humble upbringing or the hyperandrogenism controversy or the repercussions of coming out gay in a conservative society.
"From a girl who used to run barefoot around a lake to becoming a sportsperson recognized across the world, it’s been a long, hard journey," she says. "People now see me for my sport, for my hard work and for what I stand."
Dutee Chand first broke into the scene by becoming a national champion in the under-18 category in the 100m event in 2012. This was followed by impressive displays at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships, the World Youth Championships and the National Senior Athletics Championships at Ranchi.
And with two gold medals at the 2014 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taipei, she was set to take her first significant step in her international career.
However, difficulties were around the corner. Dutee Chand was preparing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games when the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) decided to drop her from the athletics contingent at the last minute, citing that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a woman athlete.
She was, however, eventually cleared to race. Dutee Chand appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2015 and her suspension was lifted.
Dutee Chand returned to the track and promptly set a national record in the 60-metre event’s qualification round at the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships with 7.28 seconds.
Her route to the 2016 Olympic qualification was the next big highlight of her career.
Despite clocking 11.33 seconds in the women's 100m dash at the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships, where she broke Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old national record to win a gold medal, she missed the Rio 2016 qualification cut-off by one-hundredth of a second.
However, the Indian sprinter broke her own national record twice in the same day at the XXVI International Meeting G. Kosanov Memorial in Kazakhstan a couple of months later. She clocked 11.24 seconds and sealed her maiden Olympic berth.
Her Rio 2016 campaign, though, ended early in the heat stages but it was a valuable experience for the then 20-year-old.
Her two medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta were also significant achievements. Dutee Chand’s silver in the women's 100m finals was India’s first in the event in two decades and the first in the category in 32 years since PT Usha’s effort in 1986.
Her second silver medal came three days later in the women's 200 metres final, which came to India 16 years after Saraswati Saha’s gold in that category in 2002.
Dutee Chand extended the momentum into the following year when she won a gold medal at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Napoli, becoming the first Indian ever to do so in a global meet.
She had also decided to come out as gay that year by declaring publicly that she was in a same-sex relationship.
While the country commended Dutee Chand’s courage for coming out of the closet, she faced a backlash from her home village Chaka Gopalpur.
But as Chand herself has said, "there is nothing to fear about being in love." Both on and off the track, Chand is not letting anything hold her back.