Tokyo Olympics: Will Dutee Chand be able to qualify for the Semifinals in 100m and 200m?
Dutee Chand has a National record of 11.17s in 100m and 23.00s in 200m. Can she make it to the semifinals in either 100m or 200m at the Tokyo Olympics?
India is historically not known for its Athletic prowess in Global tournaments. Except for a few inspirations in the form of Milkha Singh and PT Usha, India, despite its vast population, has had minimal representation in track at the Olympics. Tokyo Olympics is no different; this time, Dutee Chand is the only female representative from India in individual sprint events after she qualified for 100m and 200m events by her World ranking. Chand is currently ranked 41 and 50 in the 100m and 200m categories, respectively.
On the first day of Track and Field events, July 30, Dutee Chand will dig her spikes into the track representing India in the 100m heats. Tokyo Olympics will be Chand's second after she bowed out after the preliminary round in Rio 2016 with an 11.69s in the 100m.
So how much has Dutee Chand improved over these five years? Quite a lot. Dutee said her aim was to at least reach the Semifinals in Tokyo.
She set the National Record in the 100m this year with an 11.17 at the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala. Proud moment for Dutee and Athletics fans of India, but how does this fare with the undeniable sprint talent of the World. Let's analyse:
How can Dutee make the Semifinals?
Dutee said her primary focus would be the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics. With World-class Athletes like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Dina Asher-Smith, and Marie-Josée Ta Lou competing in the 100m, making the finals would be a mindboggling achievement. Let's take a step back and assess the chances of Dutee Chand making it to the Semifinals in both 100m and 200m.
With her 11.17s personal best set in 2021, we can assume Chand can come close to the mark once again in Tokyo. 24 athletes will make it to the semifinals of 100m and 200m. Daryll Neita and Michelle Lee-Ahye are the 24th fastest Athletes of 2021, over 100 meters with 11.04s, and Teahna Daniels, the 24th fastest over 200 meters with 22.54s.
Dutee Chand's timings are not that close to the World top 24 in 2021 but reaching Semifinals is about surviving elimination from the heats. Let us look at the semifinal cutoff timings for 100m and 200m from the last three Olympics.
Semifinals cut off for 100m and 200m
85 athletes competed in 10 heats to reach the 40 spots in the quarterfinals of the 100m heats. Three winners from each heat and the ten overall fastest moved to the semifinals. The 40 athletes then competed in five heats, with three fastest from each heat and the one with the quickest time amongst the rest made it to the semifinals. Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria was the slowest amongst those who made it to the semifinals with an 11.40s.
200m had six heats in Round 1, from which the top four from each heat and the eight fastest amongst the rest made it to Round 2. Round 2 had four heats and top three from each heat and four fastest amongst the rest made it to the semifinals. Aleksandra Fedoriva of Russia had the slowest time of all the semifinalists with a 23.04s.
Initial preliminary heats for Athletes without the Olympic standard time of 11.29s were held in London 2012. Athletes were put into seven heats, with the top three from each heat and three overall fastest from the rest made it to the semifinals. Sheniqua Ferguson of the Bahamas had the slowest time of all the semifinalists with an 11.35s.
200m had six heats with the top three from each heat, and the six fastest from the rest made it to the semifinals. Crystal Emmanuel of Canada had the slowest time of all the semifinalists with a 23.10s.
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Initial preliminary heats for Athletes without the Olympic standard time of 11.32s were held in Rio 2016. Athletes were put into eight heats, with the top two from each heat and eight overall fastest from the rest made it to the semifinals. Rio 2016 had three semifinals for 24 Athletes. Olesya Povkh of Ukraine was the slowest amongst the semifinalists with an 11.39s.
200m had nine heats, top two from each heat and six overall fastest made it to the semifinals. Anglea Tenorio of Ecuador was the slowest amongst the 24 semifinalists with a 22.94s.