In a family of weavers comprising of Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji Chand, a girl child was born on the 3rd of February, 1996. They named her ‘Duttee’. It was Jajpur in Odisha where she was born. Later, they shifted to the coastal town of Gopalpur.
Duttee didn’t search far for inspiration. Her sister Saraswati would run on the banks of the Brahmani River. Saraswati settled with a job in the Police department after becoming a national level sprinter.
Luck favored Duttee. She got a sports scholarship for a Government school in Bhubaneshwar.
It was in 2012 when she hit the headlines. In Bangalore, she lowered the National under -18 mark in 100 meters. Her speedy burst clocked in at 11.8 seconds.
2013 was the breakthrough year. In the Asian Athletics meet in Pune, Duttee grabbed bronze in the 200 meters event. In World Youth Championship, she became the first Indian to move into the final of the 100 meters event. In Ranchi during the Senior Nationals, she achieved double gold, in the 100 and 200 meters event.
2014 put her in the spotlight in Asia. In Taipei, she continued her dominance. Duttee fetched two golds, in the 200 meters and 4X400 meters events. In June, Dutee dominated the Asian Junior Athletics Championships held in Taipei. She dumped all challengers. She took the gold in the 200 meters category (23.74 s) and 4 X 400 meters relay. The relay unit consisted of Dutee Chand, Jisha V.V, Jessy Joseph and Vijaya Kumari G.K. The combined time was 3 minutes 40.53 seconds.
Everything was going as per script. People billed her as the next big thing for the Olympics. A bolt from the blue dropped barely before a fortnight of CWG 2014. She was dropped from the national team. The reason was she failed the ‘test’ of testosterone. It wasn’t to do with dope or fitness but a male hormone’s presence. It killed her ambitions. The decision was made as per IOS’s guidelines on regulations concerning ‘female hyperandrogenism’. All related federations faced heavy criticism over the axing of a promising athlete. Santhi Soundarajan extended her support against victimization.
Duttee mustered courage and appealed before the Court of Arbitration for sports. Those 2 years were dark and lonely years. Finally, the verdict came in her favor.
The comeback started. In 2016, she bettered the National timing in the 100 meters event in Federation Cup in Delhi.
Dutee went on to win a bronze medal in the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships held in Doha, Qatar. She won it in the 60 m category clocking 7.28 seconds.
During the Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in 2016, New Delhi’s Dutee shattered Rachita Mistry’s then 16-year-old record of 11.38 s in the 100 meters category. Dutee clocked 11.33 seconds.
Dutee made a remarkable achievement at the G. Kosanov Memorial Meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She clocked in at an impressive 11.30 seconds in the 100 meters category crossing the 11.32 seconds qualifying mark set for the Rio Olympics.
In Jakarta Asian games, Duttee claimed her first medal of the Asian Games. She missed the100 meter Gold by .02 seconds. In the 200m, she won silver. It was the first Indian 200 meter medal since the gold of Saraswati Saha at Busan 2002. Both times, she lost to Nigerian born Bahraini athlete Edidiong Odiong.
Controversy erupted when she revealed her same-sex inclination.
Duttee claimed a historical first-ever Gold for the nation in 2019 Summer Universiade, Napoli. The event was 100 meters. In the 59th National Open Athletics Championships, Duttee improved her national record by clocking 11.22 seconds in the 100 meters.
At the moment, she has no challenger for her supremacy. It’s nice to see that she is pushing her limits.
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