New Delhi: When her fellow runners were toiling at the national camp for the Rio Olympics at NIS Patiala, sprinter Dutee Chand chose to train alone in Hyderabad.
It wasn’t difficult to understand why Chand preferred solitude since returning to competition following her win in a landmark “gender” case against the international athletics body (IAAF) at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne last year. The phase left her “paranoid” about staying at the national camp. “I am not able to trust anyone in the camp now. I am scared that I might get trapped again. I hardly have any friends. That’s why I preferred to stay and train alone at the SAI camp in Hyderabad.
“Some of the 4×400 relay members don’t like me as I had better timings than them. But M.R. Poovamma didi is in touch with me,” Chand said at an interaction here on Wednesday.
Dutee was banned by the IAAF for suspected hyperandrogenism (questioning her gender) in 2014 — subsquently dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games squad — but she returned last year with a bang, having broken the national record (11.33secs) in the 100m dash recently.
During the ban phase, she also found a new love in the 60 metre dash, in which she recently claimed a bronze at the Asian level. At the Asian Indoors heats in February, she also set a national record in 60m, clocking 7.28 seconds.
“It was the most difficult phase of my life. I didn’t know what to do. I had no place to train but then my coach N. Ramesh (since 2012) helped me continue training and arranged for my accommodation at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad,” said Chand, who broke the 16-year-old national record at the Federation Cup in New Delhi last month, missing out on the Rio qualification mark by one hundredth of seconds (11.32s).
“I think that time motivated me to compete in 100m. I focused more on my physical strength and endurance and it’s paying off now,” said Chand, who will travel to China on Sunday for the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing next week followed by two more events....