Dutee Chand became the first Indian woman track and field athlete to win a gold medal in the World Universiade on July 9. Dutee Chand won the medal in the 100m dash in Napoli. The 23-year-old sprinter took to Twitter and posted a message after her victory. "Pull me down, I will come back stronger!" Prior to her victory, critics had written her off but Dutee Chand responded by completing the 100m race in just 11.32 seconds to secure the top spot. The Odisha runner is now eyeing to qualify for the World Championship and Olympics.
Pull me down, I will come back stronger! pic.twitter.com/PHO86ZrExl— Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) July 9, 2019
"I am overwhelmed by the congratulatory messages from so many people including such important people. But I am not going to be carried away by this (historic 100m gold at World Universiade) and I have to focus on the important events ahead," Dutee Chand was quoted as saying by PTI.
Dutee, who holds the 100m national record of 11.24 seconds, will have to be at her best if she is to qualify for the September 27-October 6 World Championships. "The 100m gold was my first at world level, it is my career highlight so far. But it is a tough road ahead. My target is to qualify for the World Championships and then the Olympics," Dutee Chand said.
Dutee ran her season's best of 11.26 during the Asian Championships in Doha in April and she will have to at least repeat it in less than next two months' time.
"I have not qualified for either the World Championships or the Olympics and the qualifying timings have been made more difficult this time. I have asked the AFI (Athletics Federation of India) to arrange for some meets in Asia or Europe so that I can qualify for the World Championships," Dutee Chand added.
The AFI, on its part, said it's trying to give Dutee two or three meets in Asia or Europe so that she can try and qualify for the World Championships. The World Championships qualification period ends on September 6.
"Dutee and her coach (N Ramesh) have requested for some meets and we are trying to arrange two or three races in either Asia or Europe. She should get them," AFI Communication Manager Divesh Bhal said.
"Even otherwise also, Dutee may get to run in the World Championships just like in the 2017 edition when she got the quota place after the total number of qualified athletes did not reach the stipulated number for the event (women's 100m)," he added.
Dutee took part in the 2017 World Championships in London, where she could not reach the semi-finals after clocking a much below-par 12.07 in heats.
Talking about the 2020 Olympics, Dutee said, "Olympics is the ultimate target and I could not do well in the 2016 Games. So I want to do better in the 2020 Olympics but I will have to qualify first and it is not going to be easy."
The 2020 Olympics qualifying mark has got tougher this time and Dutee will have to breach the 11.15 seconds as compared to 11.32 seconds for the 2016 Rio Games. She could not advance to the semi-finals after clocking a poor 11.69 seconds in the heats.
(With PTI inputs)