Dutee Chand Sets Track Ablaze, Wins Historic 100-Metre Gold In Naples
The fiery Dutee Chand won the gold medal in the women’s 100-metre sprint at the 30th Summer University Games in Naples, Italy on Tuesday. She clocked a time of 11.32 seconds, winning India’s first gold medal at this edition of the meet.
With this gold medal in her kitty, she also became the first Indian — man or woman to win a 100-metre gold at this global event. No Indian had qualified for the 100-metre final in the history of the University Games before this.
She has now become only the second Indian sprinter to win gold in a global event after Hima Das, who clinched the top spot in 400m in the World Junior Athletics Championships last year.
India’s fastest woman Dutee was speaking to The Indian Express from Naples after her win on Tuesday night, and said, “I am happy to become the first girl ever to win gold for India in the World University Games. I dedicate this medal to my university KIIT, its founder Professor Samantaji, who has stood by me during my bad days, the people of Odisha and CM Naveen Patnaik for all his support.”
Dutee qualified for the final with a time of 11.41 seconds in the semifinal which was also a path-breaking feat. On Monday, she ran in the semifinals from the heats with a time of 11.58 seconds. Ajla Del Ponte of Switzerland picked up the silver with a speed of 11.33 seconds.
“With years of hard work and your blessings, I have yet again broken the record by winning the Gold in the 100m dash in 11.32 seconds at The World University Games, Napoli. In the pictures, are the winners too, with a heart of Gold from Germany and Sweden,” Dutee tweeted after the win.
President Ram Nath Kovind congratulated Dutee saying, “Congratulations @DuteeChand for winning the 100m sprint at the Universiade, the World University Games, in Naples. This is India’s first such gold and a moment of immense pride for our country. Please keep up the effort, and look to greater glory at the Olympics,” the President tweeted.
She also bettered her own national record in the women’s 100m heats of the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha in 2019. Dutee was the fastest qualifier as she clocked 11.28s in the heats, breaking her own National record of 11.29s set in Guwahati last year. She is a two-time Asian champion and the holder of the 100-metre national record.
“Exceptional achievement of an exceptional athlete! Congratulations @DuteeChand for winning a hard-earned and well-deserved Gold in the Women’s 100 m finals. You make India proud!” PM Modi tweeted.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju too praised Dutee’s efforts tweeting, “I’ve been passionately following since my childhood but it never came. Finally, for the first time, a gold for India! Congratulations @DuteeChand for winning the 100m sprint at the Universiade, the World University Games, in Naples.”
This Odisha-born athlete recently made headlines as she admitted that she is in a same-sex relationship with a younger relative.
“This is my personal matter. I am sure everything will be fine in a month or two. On the international level, there are several athletes (who are in a same-sex relationship). To live, everybody needs a partner who understands your heart. We like each other so we decided to live together. She gives me motivation for my sport. My focus on sports will be intact,” she had said.
“Problem will come and go in future, nobody can take guarantee of that. But I think there won’t be any problem. If it won’t happen, I’ll be able to focus more on my training. My focus is on Olympics 2020 (to be held in Tokyo). I am training to qualify and participate in the Olympics,” she added.
She is currently aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, slated to be held in 2020.