Olympic qualification on mind as Dutee looks to do a first

By Aakash Kumar

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Ace Indian sprinter Dutee Chand feels that the qualification mark of 11.15 seconds for 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 100m event is very difficult and it will require a monumental effort from her in order to breach that and participate in the prestigious quadrennial event.

On July 10, Dutee clocked 11.32 seconds to clinch the gold at the World University Games in Naples, thus becoming only the second Indian sprinter to win a gold in an international event after Hima Das. Hima finished on top in the 400m at the World Junior Athletics Championships last year.

With the feat, Dutee also became the first Indian ever to win a gold in the 100m event at a global meet.

However, she is still 0.17 seconds behind the qualification mark for the Tokyo Games and in-order to qualify, she will have to better her career best of 11.24 seconds.

"I was very happy with my performance at the World Universiade Games where I won the gold medal. I learnt a lot and it was a wonderful experience for me," Dutee told IANS.

"However, the qualification mark for the Olympics of 11.15 seconds is very difficult. No Indian athlete has ever achieved that. Even, my personal best is 11.24 seconds."

"Despite that, I will try my best to achieve the qualification mark in order to represent India at the Tokyo Olympics," she added.

Speaking about the upcoming World Championships to be held from September 27-October 6, Dutee said she is looking forward to the event.

"My preparations for the upcoming World Championships are going pretty well. I am working 5-6 hours daily along with my coaches and teammates," she said.

The 23-year-old also expressed disappointed after her nomination for Arjuna Award got rejected.

"Arjuna award means a lot to each and every player. I have been performing since 2013. I have won many medals in competitions like Asian Games, World Championships and Asian Championships. I won the medal in World Universiade Games as well," she said.

"According to the rule, any athlete who performs well over a period of three years gets an Arjuna award. That's why I had applied. But because of the general elections, my application was delayed and hence it was rejected," she added.

The national champion further urged the government to reconsider her application for the award.

"I feel that the government should think about me and my performance and reconsider their decision. If they give me the Arjuna Award, that will be great else I will apply next year," she said.

(Aakash Kumar can be contacted at aakash.k@ians.in)

--IANS

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