Nearly a year after fighting her way back into her international career by winning a landmark 'gender' case, gutsy Indian woman sprinter Dutee Chand today qualified for Rio Olympics 100m dash, shattering her own national record in the process at the 26th G Kosanov Memorial Meet in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
With the effort, Odisha athlete Dutee bettered her own national record of 11.33secs which she set at the Federation Cup National Championships here in April. She is the 20th Indian track and field athlete to have qualified for Rio Games.
Dutee is also the first Indian woman to have qualified for 100 metres race in an Olympics since the qualification system was introduced in the event. Legendary P T Usha was the last Indian woman to have run a 100m race in Olympics in 1980 Moscow Games but there was not qualification system at that time.
For Dutee, it is a remarkable achievement to make the Olympics cut as she was banned mid 2014 and dropped from the Commonwealth Games as she was found to have a higher level of testosterone (male hormone) than was permissible in a woman athlete, according to the IAAF hyperandrogenism policy.
Dutee lost an entire year of training and competition but faced the turmoil bravely and fought the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland. In July last year, in a historic verdict, the CAS partially upheld her appeal and allowed her to resume her career.
"I am really happy to have qualified for Rio Olympics. It has been a tough year for me. My hard work and that of my coach (N Ramesh) has paid off," Dutee said after booking the Rio berth.