Dutee Chand has broken the national record in 100-meter sprint heats. At the ongoing National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi on Friday, in the semifinals of the event, Dutee bettered her personal best with a timing of 11.22 seconds. She went on to win a gold at 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 this year. Good news! But this also means Dutee is yet to achieve the 2020 Olympics qualification mark of 11.15 seconds and is 0.07 seconds slower still. The 23-year-old Odiya is moving closer to the mark but at a very slow rate.

Since 2018, Dutee has gone from 11.30 seconds to 11.29 seconds and finally 11.26 seconds this April in Doha.

With this new record, Dutee is officially the fastest woman 100m sprinter in the country.

Earlier, Dutee also failed to qualify for the women’s 100m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships. She finished seventh in the third heat of the event, clocking 11.48 seconds. This was way below her season best which stands at 11.26s. If she could have made it to the finish line with a timing of 11.22 seconds or even touching 11.25 seconds in the heats, she would have guaranteed herself a semifinal berth in Doha. Dutee had failed to meet the qualifying standards for world championships in 2019, but she made it to Doha meet after getting an invite from the IAAF.

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Key Takeaways

  • Dutee Chand has set a new national record in women 100 metre sprint, clocked 11.22 seconds to better her personal best by 0.04.
  • The previous national record was co-held by Dutee and Rachita Mistry at 11.26 sec. 
  • Dutee Chand broke the national record to move closer to the 2020 Olympics qualification mark for the 100m event that has been set at 11.15 seconds.

“A couple of days ago, I had the wrong belief that my body was tired at the end of the season. I recovered well to be able to break the last national mark twice this evening,” Dutee said after winning the final in Ranchi.  Under the guidance of her coach N. Ramesh, Dutee is now aiming to clock below 11.15s in 100m. The Tokyo Olympics next year is the target.

Recent achievements

The national champion has represented India at various national and international sporting events. She has won several medals and broken a couple of records in the process.

  • Dutee Chand is the third Indian woman ever to qualify for the women’s 100m at the Summer Olympics.
  • She is also the first Indian athlete — man or woman — to win gold in the 100m event, clocking at 11.32 seconds, at the World University Games in Naples.
  • In August, she won gold medal at the 100m event of the fifth Indian Grand Prix. The sprinter from Odisha stood at the top of the podium after clocking 11.42 seconds.
  • She also became the second Indian sprinter to win gold at a global event after Hima Das, who clinched the top spot in 400m in the World Junior Athletics Championships last year.

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But how much has Dutee improved over the past few months? “With experience, she is a much more polished and feared runner in the circuit. From start to finish, there is a perfect blend of great poise and power,” Ramesh claims, according to The Hindu.

“Dutee, silver medallist in 100m and 200m in the last Asiad and a bronze medallist (200m) in the recent Asian championship, will be pushing herself in 200m so as to make her more comfortable in 100m,” he says.

Ramesh further adds, “All this would not have been possible if not for the support of the AFI and the free boarding facility given at Gopi Chand Academy by (chief national badminton coach P. Gopi Chand) in 2014 when IAAF slapped a ban on her on grounds of hyperandrogenism. That was the most critical phase when she was staring at the dead-end of her career.”

Gulf nations hiring African athletes may deny Indians some medal chances, but I look at the kind of confidence we get if we beat them consistently as we look ahead. – Ramesh.

What exactly does Dutee need now to win a medal at the Olympics? “The training part has been pretty good. She badly needs exposure to international events and competing with those who clock around 11.00s in 100m,” says the coach.

As Dutee continues to chase the dream of winning a medal at Olympics, this Odisha-born athlete made headlines by admitting that she is in a same-sex relationship with a younger relative. The entire nation came out in her support.

No Indian athlete has ever clocked in 11.15s at 100m. Can Dutee do that and thus qualify for Tokyo 2020?

Feature Image Credit: The Hindu

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