Rio Olympics-bound Indian sprinter Dutee Chand on Saturday said she is working hard to improve her speed endurance so that she doesn’t taper off in the last 40 metres of the 100m event during next month’s Olympics.
“I am too good in first 60 metres, but my speeds slows down in the last 40 metres dash. I agree. I have to improve on my speed endurance, and I am working on it. Ramesh sir is giving lot of attention on it and I am also reciprocating it,” she told reporters.
Dutee became the first Indian female athlete in 36 years to qualify for the 100 metres in an Olympics after PT Usha competed in the event in the 1980 Moscow Games.
Asked whether she is better placed than Usha to win an Olympic medal, Dutee said it is not easy because the level of performances of athletes have improved over the years.
“It is not easy to win the medal because times have changed, and there is a lot of competition, besides athletes’ performances have been improving over the years,” she said.
Dutee said her rivalry with Kazakhstan’s Viktoriya Zyabkina, a semifinalist at last year’s World Championship in Beijing, at the Kosanov memorial athletics meet in Kazakhstan, has done a world of good to her ahead of the mega event.
“I did not face any competition from any sprinter in India. Running against Viktoriya has helped me a lot,” she said.
N Ramesh, Dutee’s coach, praised the Odisha sprinter, saying she has the fighting spirit of a lioness, which stems from the hardships she faced in various stages of life, including the harsh ban imposed on her for having higher level of testosterone than was permissible in a woman athlete.
“She is like a lioness. The good the competition, the better is her performance. She has been bettering her performance from the junior level till the international competition where she qualified for Rio Olympics.
“That is her range. So, wherever she goes she fights like a lioness,” Ramesh told reporters.