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National Open Athletics: Dutee Chand clinches gold on comeback

Kolkata: Indian sprinter Dutee Chand marked her return in the National Open Athletic Championship by laying her hands on the coveted gold in 100-metre sprint here on Thursday at the 55th edition.

She did not start off well, but she was at her best in the last few metres as she edged past rival Srabani Nanda, who stood second. Earlier in the heats condcuted on Wednesday, too, Dutee was a notch above the rest.

Dutee clocked 11.68 seconds, just ahead of Nanda who crossed the line in 11.70 seconds. The Railways athlete, however, fell short of the Olympic qualifying mark of 11.32 seconds. The sprinter was banned last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as her body produced testosterone at levels which were deemed higher than the limits for women sportspersons.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July cleared the sprinter by suspending the "hyperandrogenism" rules, which may also be scrapped if the IAAF fails to provide evidence. “I am happy that my practice has helped me achieve the desired result here. I have been training really hard, three times a day so that I can put in my best efforts,” Dutee said.

"I dedicate this win to the sports minister of the country Sarbananda Sonowal, as he has done a lot for me when I was in a crisis situation,” she said. The 19-year-old sprinter added that the effort was not her best and that she was looking forward to the next event where she will get another chance to outdo the timing she clocked here.

“This was not my best, will try and better it next time, so looking forward to the next meet,” added Dutee who had clinched bronze in 2013 Asian Athletics championship. Dutee is coached by Nagpuri Ramesh and is at present undergoing training at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.

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