SAI of relief for Dutee Chand

Updated: Jun 15, 2019, 08:05 IST | Ronald Chettiar

India's 100m national record holder Dutee Chand says support from Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) following her gay revelation, is helping her train better

SAI of relief for Dutee Chand
Dutee Chand

India's 100m sprint champ Dutee Chand said she is overwhelmed by the support she has received from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) after revealing she is gay in May, making her the first Indian athlete to openly admit the sexual preference.

"I was fearing that after my announcement, people would criticise me since I'm one of the country's leading athletes. I was worried that this would affect my career. But after I received the support of SAI and AFI, it has given me a lot of confidence and I'm also able to train wholeheartedly now. Both SAI and AFI told me that this [sexual preference] was my personal matter as a result of which they will not take any action against me," said Dutee at the launch of a shoe brand in the city yesterday.

Dutee had has her share of problems with the AFI. In 2014, she was banned from running by them after a high level of testosterone was found in her. She appealed against the ban and won the case and is now India's 100m champion [11.24sec].

Dutee, who became the first Indian woman in two decades to win a medal (silver) in the 100m dash at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, said the first few days after her announcement were a nightmare.

"It was very difficult for me because the people of my village [Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha] are very traditional and old fashioned. It's almost impossible to make them understand. When I told them, they criticised me a lot. It was emotionally draining. It started to affect my training. My life changed completely. I experienced lot of stress. Only when I got some positive response from the media, did they begin to understand. I just want to tell them that I'm not committing any crime and nor is it affecting anyone, so why such a reaction," said the athlete, who clinched a bronze in 200m event at the Asian Championships this year.

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