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Athletics

Schemes like Khelo India help rural talents to pursue sports: Dutee Chand

Schemes like Khelo India help rural talents to pursue sports: Dutee Chand
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Published: 30 Jan 2019 12:35 PM GMT
The Asian Games proved to be a very fruitful experience for Dutee Chand, India's fastest woman who has seen dark days and been at the receiving end of insensitivity at the hands of the world athletics body due to a condition called hyperandrogenism- a phase she describes as "traumatic" and dark. However, once back on the track, she made sure her comeback counted with two silvers in Jakarta at the Asiad- each in 100m and 200m. Now, looking back, Dutee considers the two silvers among the biggest, most special achievements of her career. "Those medals came after a particularly traumatic phase in my life," she tells The Bridge. "Those were the runs of my life. From the beginning to the end there was nothing in my performance that I would change anything about." "Right now, however, one of my targets is working on my speed. I can push myself to do better than 11.23 seconds in 100 mt and aim for a Gold in the next major tournament."
Dutee, who trains in Hyderabad, had been at home in Odisha for the last few months. While the road ahead to Tokyo 2020 is definitely a priority for her, she says that right now for her training, it is important to set smaller targets and achieve them because all of it contributes to improving overall. "The National season starts in February and then there's the senior Fed Cup in March," she says. "Right now, all my training is going to be focused on the Asian Championships and the World Championship. If I perform well in the next few months, that will boost confidence." In her efforts, Dutee takes a minute to mention the Odisha government and their endeavour when it comes to supporting her. "Cash awards were announced after Asian Games but the State Government has now also agreed to fund my Olympic training,"
she said. "They asked me for a budget. Any financial help from their side will be very helpful." And why it becomes even more important that she be supported by the State Government is because Dutee is not eligible for any support from Central schemes. "I was told my name would be included under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme," she says. "That has not been done yet. Since my discipline of 100mt does not need National camps, I am not a part of any camp either. Anything and everything I do, I have to support myself entirely." While she remains optimistic about her own performance, the general increase in interest towards athletics, in general, has not failed to catch her attention. "If schemes like Khelo India had existed when we were starting out, it would have been very helpful for a lot of people,
" she says. "Central Government schemes like those who would have probably given up because of lack of money," she observes. "Kids in rural areas are being scouted and identified because of Khelo India and the scholarships they get take care of their training and boarding. That is a very big help." "This has also helped sports as a whole develop in the country, not just athletics. When people see that some incentive is being offered, that people are ready to support them should they choose to pursue sports, more and more people will come up to participate," she says. Dutee is yet to return to training in 2019 and, as she mentioned, she used the time after the Asian Games to spend time with her family back in Odisha. "But now, it's time to get back to training mode," she laughs. "A normal day starts with training beginning at 6 AM. That goes on till 9.30 AM and I go through whatever regimen my coach has prepared for me. I get an hours rest after that and return to training till about 1. I like to swim during this time because that is one essential aspect I feel for overall body development. Then back to physical training from 3PM to 5PM." With that, we signed off knowing the Indian sprinter a little better. What is perhaps most heartening to see is that Dutee has, at last, managed to put the demons of an unjust ban behind her and looks forward to concentrating solely on her training.
Also read: You can’t run away from your problems, you have to stand up and fight | By Dutee Chand
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