Her confidence boosted by a superb show at the Asian Games, sprinter Dutee Chand says she can target higher goals with better training in the coming years.
Dutee, speaking on the sidelines of a Sports Journalists Federation of India event here, said she had not made any specific plans for the future meets.
“We have not made any plans for any special preparations or training for the Olympics. I will continue the same training regime which I have been doing till the end of 2019 because next year we have the Asian Championships and the World Championships so I will focus on those events for now,” she said.
Dutee had produced dazzling runs in the 100 and 200 events at the Asian Games, winning the silver medals behind Edidioing Odiong of Bahrain. The Nigerian-born athlete was one of the several Africans who competed for Gulf nations at the Asian Games. Dutee said she had no problems with that.
“It doesn’t affect me at all, I just have to run, whoever it is. All the athletes from different countries, their bodies are different. According to my height, whatever power I have I can only run that fast,” she said. “I just focus on my running and try to give my best on the track. Whatever medal I have won, I am happy with it.”
Dutee, who had to fight an IAAF rule on hyperandrogenism in the Court of Arbitration for Sport to return to the track, acknowledged the support she received from Pullela Gopichand.
“When I was removed from the camp in 2014, I was not getting any hostel to stay in. My coach Nagapuri Ramesh told me to come to Hyderabad to train but I told him that I don’t have any place to stay. He told me that he would speak to Pullela Gopichand who has a private academy there. He agreed instantly and gave me a place to stay and since then has been looking after me. When the camp is not there, Gopi Sir gives me a place to stay and he also takes care of my food bills.”
Speaking about the athletics scene in India, Dutee said there was a need for more coaches.
“India has the infrastructure but there is a shortage of coaches. Whoever has won a medal recently, all those athletes have trained overseas. I am the only one who trained only in India,” she said.
The Odisha runner said she was hopeful of finding support from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). “When I went to meet Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, I met the sports minister (Rajyavardhan Singh) Rathore who told me that last time my name was not cleared for TOP scheme but this time we will include your name in the scheme,” she said.