Dutee Chand announces shock retirement
Ace Indian sprinter Dutee Chand has decided to say farewell to athletics and plans to retire after the 2024 Paris Olympics as she believes she is not as fast as she used to be.
In a shock announcement, ace sprinter Dutee Chand made it clear that she will be hanging up her racing boots after the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, making it her final appearance at the prestigious quadrennial Games.
A 2-time Olympian, Dutee has previously represented India at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics. At the recently concluded Khelo India University Games, Dutee Chand lost the 200m sprint to teen sensation Priya Mohan and had to settle for a silver, which could be a further cause for her rushing to this decision to retire after Paris.
In an interview with ESPN after her close loss, Chand elaborated on her intentions and stated candidly, "I'm growing old, I'm not as fast as I used to be."
"I'll pull along for two-three more years if my body cooperates," the 26-year-old star sprinter from Odisha explained.
At the KIUG, Chand bagged a total of two medals - gold from the 100m she defended successfully and the silver from the 200m. Even though she won gold in her pet category, Chand's timing was 11.68 seconds, which is quite a few seconds more than her personal best and national record of 11.17 seconds she achieved at the Indian Grand Prix in Patiala last year.
"My body is becoming slower and I began training quite late this season," Dutee mentioned, highlighting that as a reason for her performance.
After PT Usha, Dutee Chand became the most promising and well-decorated female sprinter for India when she bagged two silver medals at the Asian Games in 2018 and became the only Indian to win the gold medal at World University Games in 2019.
However, the road ahead is difficult for Dutee given the obvious issues she is facing with her body and age. Chand will be 28 by the time we are to begin with the Paris Olympics, which is certainly one of the factors that has motivated her towards this decision.
"I've already participated in five events this year to make the cut for these international events… I'm confident of hitting my peak in June-July before the international circuit begins," Dutee Chand conjectured, after her KIUG outing.
Further, Chand is yet to meet the qualification standards set by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the Commonwealth Games (11.31s) and the Asian Games (11.36s), scheduled to be held later this year.
For qualifying for the World Athletics Championships in July, Dutee Chand will also need to better her personal best and clock 11.15s to make the cut in the 100m event.
As far as the 2022 season is concerned, Chand won her 100m run at the national inter-university championships, clocking 11.44 seconds in February followed by gold at the Federation Cup in 11.49 seconds in March.
The ace sprinter also mentioned that she plans on opening the 'Dutee Chand Athletics Speed Academy' to train aspiring sprinters in her home state of Odisha, after her retirement.