Exclusive | ‘Only one aim in my mind - to qualify for Tokyo Olympics 2020’, says Dutee Chand ahead of World Athletics Championships
A day before heading to Doha, Chand spoke in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times and said that she would be hoping to record her personal best at the Worlds, despite the strong competition in front of her.Updated: Sep 24, 2019 15:41 IST
After bagging the gold in 100m at World University Games in July, sprinter Dutee Chand became one of India’s medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics next year. But in order to qualify for the multi-sport event, the 25-year-old faces her first hurdle which is the upcoming World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar, which begins next week from Friday. A few days before heading to Doha, Chand spoke in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times and said that she would be hoping to record her personal best at the Worlds, despite the strong competition in front of her.
“I have only one aim in my mind - to qualify for the Olympics. There will be tough competition there - all the best athletes from across the world will be coming. These athletes have personal best times of 10.8 or 10.9 and my personal best is 11.24. But still I will try to put my best foot forward. Hopefully, I can record a better time and I could at least make it into the finals,” the athlete said at an event organised by Sheros.
“My training has been going good. I have now shifted my entire base in Bhubaneswar and all the facilities are available there. We are equipped with a swimming pool and a gym,” she added.
But qualifying for Olympics will not be an easy task. The qualification mark for 2020 Games has been increased to 11.15 from 11.32 which was the mark for Rio Olympics. Dutee failed to reach the Worlds qualification mark of 11.24 this year and was included in India’s contingent for Doha after she received an invitation for IAAF, making a cut within the required number of competitors for the event.
“We get selection on the basis of our timing and our rankings. I ran a lot of competitions this year. And I was not too far off the mark - it was 11.24 and I clocked 11.26 in Doha Asian Athletics. I earned gold in World University Games and climbed to 53rd World Ranking. This was why IAAF invited me for the World Championships,” Dutee said.
“It is possible that I could have done better at that time, but I hope I can improve my timings now. I will definitely be feeling the nerves, but I will still try to give my personal best,” she added.
Despite being known as the ‘India’s fastest woman’ and becoming the second Indian to win a gold at the tracks in a global event after Hima Das, Dutee has not been included in the government’s TOPS scheme, for which she has been applying for the past two years.
“I have been applying to be included in TOPS scheme as I have been winning skill medals. But so far, nothing is happening. But I am not worried about it as my state government is promoting me and helping me with all my requirements,” she said.