Kazakhstan ‘Warm Up’ Event Cancelled, Dutee Chand’s Olympics Training Disturbed

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Sprinter Dutee Chand’s Olympics training has seen a set back. An indoor track event in Almaty, Kazakhstan, was cancelled this month as she was hoping to polish her training for the much-awaited Olympics. The national record holder in 100m sprinter wants to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Dutee was aiming to run in a 60m dash (not an Olympic event) indoor competition in Kazakhstan on January 29. However, a last-minute cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic made her reschedule her training for domestic competitions starting February 18 in Patiala. 

The Indian outdoor season kickstarts with Indian Grand Prix on February 18 in Patiala. Chand said it will be a “warm up” event ahead of the Federation Cup in March.

Earlier last year, she missed out Olympic qualifying events in Germany amid the COVID-19 pandemic gripping Europe. It is a great deal for the fastest woman of India to qualify for the Olympics and make her country proud. “I couldn’t compete in other indoor meets in Europe due to seven days quarantine guideline for athletes from India. Since I don’t face tough competition on the home soil, races in Europe would have given a good start to the season,” the 25-year-old athlete told IANS.

Tokyo dreams

Rio Olympian Chand is the Asian Games silver-medallist and national record holder who won the 100m and 200m silver at Jakarta in 2018. She broke the national record in 100-meter sprint heats. At the National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi in October 2019, she bettered her personal best with a timing of 11.22 seconds. She went on to win a gold in the finals.

Her previous national record was 11.26 seconds, which means she is now 0.04 seconds faster than she was at the Asian Athletics Championships in April last year. She needs to cut it to 11.15 seconds, the qualifying mark for the Tokyo Games. No Indian athlete has ever achieved 11.15s at 100m.

Dutee Chand’s Olympics Training Disturbed as some events have got cancelled

Hoping for the best now

Dutee is hoping that the situation improves very fast. “On paper, it looks easy but it’s hard to improve fraction of seconds. After March, I will see if situation gets better in Europe and then I will try to figure out whether I would be able to compete there or not. Tough competition is the only way forward,” she said

Talking about the World Athletics qualification rules, which specifies that the top 50 ranked athletes would get berths in the Olympics in case they are not able to meet the qualification time, she expressed saying, “High quality competition in Europe will not only enable me to inch closer to qualification time, but will improve her global rankings.”