Odisha’s Pride Dutee and Srabani
By Odisha Story Bureau; Bhubaneswar
Two Odia athletes, Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda, are representing India at the upcoming Rio Olympics. They brought double delight for the state as well as the country by making it possible. Sprinter Dutee is the second Indian women to be ever qualified for the Women’s 100 meters event at the Summer Olympic Games, with PT Usha having qualified for the event in 1980 Summer Olympics. Srabani has reserved her berth for the Olympic in the women’s 200 meters category.
Chand was born on 3 February 1996 to Chakradhar Chand and Akhuji Chand in Gopalpur, in the Jajpur district of Odisha. She is one of four daughters born to the poor weaver couple. Her source of inspiration comes from her elder sister Saraswati Chand, who was an athlete herself. In 2013, she enrolled in the KIIT University to pursue law.
Dutee Chand, in 2012 became a national champion in the under-18 category when she clocked 11.8 seconds in the 100 meters event. Clocking 23.811 seconds, Chand won the bronze in the 200 meters event at the Asian Championships in Pune. The year also saw her become the first Indian to reach the final of a global athletics 100 meters final, when she reached the final in the 2013 World Youth Championships. In the same year, she became the national champion in 100 meters and 200 meters when she won the events clocking 11.73 s in the final in 100 meters and a career-best 23.73 s in 200 meters at the National Senior Athletics Championships in Ranchi.Dutee clocked 11.33 secs in women’s 100m dash to win the gold and erase Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old earlier national record of 11.38 secs in the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in New Delhi, however, she missed the Rio Olympics qualification norm of 11.32 secs by one-hundredth of a second. Dutee Chand Qualifies for Rio Olympics after she clocks, 11.30 secs in the heats also breaks her own National Record. In the final she stepped ahead with another record, finishing 100m in 10:24 secs.
Chand was dropped from the Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after the Athletic Federation of India stated that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete. The government is trying to explore CAS option in Dutee’s case. There has been no suggestion that Chand has been involved in cheating or doping — the decision was made in compliance with International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulations on “female hyperandrogenism” designed to address a perceived advantage for female athletes with high androgen levels. The decision has been condemned by Australian intersex advocates. The Athletic Federation of India and IAAF’s actions were widely criticized as an affront to Chand’s privacy and human rights.
In July 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued a decision to suspend the hyperandrogenism regulation for female track and field sports for two years, stating that insufficient evidence had been produced to indicate that there is any link between enhanced androgen levels and improved athletic performance. The court allowed two further years for convincing evidence to be submitted by the IAAF, after which the regulation will be automatically revoked if evidence has not been provided. This effectively removes the suspension of Chand from competition, clearing her to race again.
The 24-year-old Sprinter Srabani is from Odisha’s Kandhamal district. She clocked 23.02 seconds in women’s 200-meter event at XXVI International Meeting G. Kosanov Memorial Meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan to become the 103rd member to join the Indian contingent in Rio Olympics.
The Rio Olympics is slated to be held from August 5 to August 21.