Yep, that headline’s true – Dutee Chand is on the road to Rio! She has qualified for the womens’ 100m event after clocking 11.30 seconds at the 26th G. Kosanov Memorial International meet at Kazhakstan. In April this year, she’d set a national record with a timing of 11.33 secondsFederation Cup National Athletics Championships in Delhi, but missed out on qualifying for the Olympics by 0.01 seconds (the cut-off is 11.32 seconds). Her success today in Kazhakstan makes her the second Indian woman to ever qualify in her event for the Olympics. PT Usha’s the only other to have done so.
She’s been on a roll all year. Just last month, her 4×100 m relay team set another national record at the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing. Chand’s performance has been amazing when you consider what she’s been through – an enforced career break because of anonymous allegations that she wasn’t female enough in 2014, a humiliating investigation into her gender after which she was declared to have hyperandrogenism (which causes higher levels of testosterone), and then an international battle in a Switzerland-based court challenging her disqualification from the female category. Fortunately, the court ruled in July 2015 that she could compete in national and international events, giving the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) a maximum of two years to prove that hyperandrogenism affects performance. Since then, Chand’s been working hard to get back on track in her career.