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Athletics

Is Dutee Chand India's Megan Rapinoe?

Is Dutee Chand Indias Megan Rapinoe?
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By

Md Imtiaz

Published: 10 July 2019 9:22 AM GMT
This June, as the world celebrated the official month for LGBTQIA, one of the most prominent icons that came into fore was Megan Rapinoe, the US women's team footballer who guided her team to win the FIFA Women's World Cup. The outspoken, pink-haired footballer with boundless energy, was awarded the prestigious Golden Boot award for the most goals scored in the tournament and the Golden Ball award for being the best player. Rapinoe's iconic celebration image captured by sports photographer Franck Fife during quarter-finals of World Cup would be remembered for years to come. The poised smile on her face and her arms outstretched after she scored a goal against the home team, France, within five minutes of kick-off, showcased her exultation in defying the hostile crowd.
Rapinoe celebrates after her goal against France Even off-field, she has never given up without a fight. From defying Donald Trump, the world's most powerful leader, she has been vocal about USA Soccer Federation's lack of respect for the women's game and voiced her LGBTQ+ allegiance with two simple words: "Go gays!" She and the US squad are also suing their federation over equal pay and working conditions. A bold feminist, Rapinoe has worn her heart on her sleeve and used her position to draw attention towards women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality and equal pay, Rapinoe's reputation has made her on Twitter the
“REVOLUTIONARY BLONDE SOCCER LESBIAN GODDESS”
, and she is our changing times, personified.

Dutee making statements

As Rapinoe's heroics grab eyeballs across the globe, India's very own Dutee Chand is gaining a similar footing in the country. Dutee made headlines for the second time this week by winning a gold medal in the World University Games at the 100m event. The Odisha runner became the first Indian to win a 100m gold in a global event, and she is the second Indian sprinter to win a gold in a global event after Hima Das, who clinched the top spot in 400m in the World Junior Athletics Championships last year.
Dutee at World University Games Earlier she occupied the prestigious cover story spread in this month’s India edition of the world’s largest-selling fashion and entertainment magazine “Cosmopolitan”. Dressed in all-black athletic active-wear, Chand was seen draped with a rainbow-coloured tulle-material cape. The same colours as the rainbow, and of pride, as June was International Pride month. The magazine termed Chand as “India’s Shining Star and First Openly-Gay Athlete”. Dutee Chand on Cosmopolitan cover In May, Chand came out to openly to admit about being in a same-sex relationship. Her revelation came in the light of the facts that her elder sister had threatened to go public with this information, as a way of blackmailing her. Comments and allegations flew thick and fast when Dutee revealed her relationship. It indicated that severe differences on the issue might have cropped up between Dutee and the rest of her family.

The fighter that Dutee is

Struggling with abject poverty and social apathy, Dutee Chand has broken he cages of gender discrimination to become one of India’s finest women athletes. Her story is the one that makes for bestselling books and blockbuster films. The double silver medallist at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018, overcame a significant roadblock of controversy and stayed strong to script her own narrative. In 2014, Chand's career took a major blow as she was dropped from the Commonwealth Games contingent for hyperandrogenism, a physical condition where the body produces a larger than average amount of the male testosterone hormone. It was akin to the similar accusation made against South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya. At that point, Dutee could have either taken a hormone therapy or bid farewell to her sporting career. However, she showed great nerves and fighting spirit and courageously decided to take on the IAAF in the Court of Arbitration (CoA). A resilient Chand won her fight in July 2015, when the CoA suspended the hyperandrogenism regulation for female track and field sports for two years. But by that time, enough damage had been done to her career. Chand started right where she left and slowly made significant strides in global sporting events. Dutee’s courageous move to take on the IAAF has inspired others, and she wants to make sure that no other Indian athlete has to suffer the same ordeal. Dutee has set an example for India by coming out and being vocal about the crude roadblocks of patriarchy, Dutee Chand has a long way to go. Despite the present undercurrents she has been facing, she has emerged successfully boldly breaking the norm of what you call "normal".
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