Dutee Chand feels proud in giving back to the village she grew up

Kritika Sehgal | HT

New Delhi

Unlock 2.0 has come with a positive side for Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, as she resumes her training in full swing in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Considering the current situation, she says that she will have to start everything from scratch for Olympics.

“With unlock 2.0, I have started to get back to my training schedule but still it will take time to continue training for Olympics. After almost two months, I started running on the track and it felt so good. It was initially a little upsetting to be all by myself but then with so much happening around, I started doing yoga to keep myself mentally fit,” says the Asian Games (2018) silver medalist.

In May, Chand travelled to her hometown, a village in Jajpur, Odisha, after arranging special passes, where she distributed essentials and sanitary napkins to the women. People have been hit hard due to the pandemic, Chand believes that standing together in these unprecedented times is the need of the hour.

“It was a very good feeling that I could do something for the village where I grew up. For someone like me, who started training at a very young age with no guidance, I know how tough it is to survive without facilities. I tried my best to provide whatever I could to as many people as possible and I would want to give back to society in the future also,” says the sprinter.

The sprinter has bagged many medals for the country, becoming the current national champion in the women’s 100 metre event. She says that lockdown gave her time to binge watch movies and reconnect with old friends.

“I have watched a lot of movies and called my old friends because that was also essential to keep my mind happy. Lockdown was critical for sportspersons, for each and everyone of us as the physical training was hampered. My training for Olympics was disrupted due to the lockdown because coaches also went back to their hometowns and there was no outside training. For a track athlete like me, outside training is the core part of my fitness regime. My only focus was on general exercise to keep myself fit,” says the 24-year-old sprinter.

“I have struggled a lot to reach where I am today, it was not easy. Whether it was my personal life or my training, I have faced a lot of criticism from people. I have grown up training barefoot in a very small village. But today things are different, women are excelling wherever they are going, especially in sports. Parents now prefer to send their daughters
in sports.”