Indian sprinter Dutee Chand revealed on Sunday that she is in a same-sex relationship. Chand, a winner of two silver medals in the 2018 Asian Games, stated that she has found her "soulmate" in a woman from her hometown of Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha.
"I have found someone who is my soulmate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person's choice," the athlete was quoted as saying according to a report in The Indian Express.
She, however, added that her focus remains on her preparation for the upcoming World Championships followed by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with plans to settle down with her soulmate kept for the future.
Chand stated that she decided to come out of the closet after the Supreme Court of India struck down Section 377, the 158-year-old colonial-era law that criminalised homosexuality. In the process, India became the 126th country to remove an anti-LGBTQ law.
"The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want," added Chand.
The champion sprinter had earlier overcome a major hurdle when she successfully appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne against the IAAF's rules on Hyperandrogenism after she was banned by the international athletics body as well as the AFI back home. After getting the ban overturned, Chand went on to win three bronze medals at the Asian Championships, as well as a silver medal in 100 metres and 200 metres in the 2018 Asian Games.