Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah credited Dutee Chand for overcoming language barriers and helping put India on the global athletics map.
Thompson-Herah won the 100m and 200m golds at Rio 2016, making her the only Jamaican woman to achieve the feat. It also made her the first woman to do so since USA’s Florence Griffith-Joyner at Seoul 1988.
In a recent chat with the Olympic Channel, Elaine Thompson praised Dutee Chand for her ability to overcome multiple barriers to become one of India’s most-talked about sportswomen.
“Her development was not quick because she has had so much to learn, but she's catching on. I think she's doing great at this time,” Thompson-Herah said about 24-year-old Dutee.
The duo have been rivals on track at many events, including Rio 2016 and the World Athletics Championships last year.
“We have to also understand that sometimes there is a language barrier because English is not the native language for her,” Thompson-Herah explained.
“It is kind of hard to translate everything to another person who doesn't speak English, but Dutee is getting to know more and getting better each time.”
Dutee Chand is undoubtedly India’s brightest sprint star in many years. The Odisha-born sprinter made her Olympics debut as a 20-year-old at Rio 2016 and currently holds the 100m national record at 11.22 seconds.
Dutee Chand’s efforts have helped raise the profile of India, a country not particularly known for its athletics prowess.
While the track sprints are still dominated by the likes of the USA and Jamaica, emerging nations are making their presence felt - something that makes Elaine Thompson-Herah upbeat for the future.
“Honestly, I feel great to see other countries coming on the sprinting map to represent themselves and their country. Now we have countries like Great Britain, Ivory Coast and Kenya lining up together, racing, putting themselves and their countries out there,” said the Jamaican star.
“As an athlete, I think that is really exciting and great to see them coming in and to deliver and do and perform well,” said the Olympic champion.