Confident Dutee eyes World Championships

Dutee Chand. PTI file photo

India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand says she is confident of qualifying for the World Championships in Doha in September after her historic win at World Universiade in Napoli, Italy.

The 23-year-old clinched 100m gold on Wednesday to become the first Indian woman track and field athlete to achieve the feat. Before her, shot-putter Inderjeet Singh finished atop the podium in 2015 edition.

Dutee was quick to get off the blocks to clock 11.32 seconds. She beat Swiss Ajla Del Ponte of Switzerland (11.33 sec) and Germany’s Lisa Kwayie (11.39 sec) to second and third spots. Dutee admitted battling a few nerves before the race.

“It was a very good race. From start to end, I ran very well. 100m is a critical event, one is always wary of a foul. There was a lot of fear in my heart before the race. But I banked on my experience. I ran in a very systematic way,” Dutee, who is also participating in 200m, told DH.

“I came here with a target to win a medal, and I am very that I became the first Indian girl to do so.”

Dutee missed the Worlds qualifying mark of 11.24 seconds, but was unperturbed. “There is enough time for me to qualify for both World Championships and Olympics. I am confident I will achieve that.”

Giving a peek into her training, her coach N. Ramesh said: “She is very strong in starts, especially in first 30m, so we decided to become stronger where we are strong. A major point we worked on was running at the highest speed and relaxing without releasing the speed.

“For instance, we did the drill in which the first 30m you run fast, and in the next 20m you relax but you don’t release the speed. Then again you pick up the speed, and again relax. It is a technique through which you have to only relax your body. The biomechanics says keeping your body relaxed at the highest speed is the best quality of a sprinter.

“Dutee has now got the maturity on how to spend time and energy in the heats, semifinals, finals. Previously, she used to run good in the heats and the semifinals, but in the finals she would have a little loose time. This time in the heats she clocked 11.46 sec, in semifinals 11.41 sec and then in final she ran 11.32 sec.”

Their focus now is on bettering the timing. “She should be running high-level competitions abroad with the sprinters who are clocking 10.9, 11.0, 11.1 seconds. We will be requesting the federation and government for the same. We will go step by step. The first target will be to achieve 11.24 sec for Worlds and 11.15 for the Olympics,” Ramesh said.

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