Bengaluru, July 16: After clinching historic gold in the 100m race at the World Universiade in Naples, Italy last week, ace India sprinter Dutee Chand said the medal was a perfect answer to the criticism she received for expressing that she was in a same-sex relationship.
The 23-year-old Dutee fended off a late challenge from Del Ponte of Switzerland to win the race and went on to become only the second Indian sprinter to win a gold in an international event after Hima Das, who finished on top in 400m at the World Junior Athletics Championships last year.
Dutee, who clocked 11.32 seconds to win, also became the first Indian ever to win a gold medal in the 100m event at a global event.
Earlier this year in May, the sprinter had revealed she was in relationship with a younger relative of the same sex for which she faced a lot of backlash. However, in an interview with IANS, Dutee refused to talk on the issue, but asserted that her medal was an answer to her critics.
"There has been several controversies in my life since 2014. They (people) spoke against me after which I answered them with my show in Rio Olympics. Even now they were saying that I am not focusing on my game, but see, my medal gave them the answer. My sole focus is on my game," Dutee said.
On May 19, the ace sprinter became the first Indian athlete to come out and declare that she was in a same-sex relationship for which she faced a tough battle of acceptance in her family, who even warned that they will not allow Dutee to carry on under any circumstances.
I've been passionately following since my childhood but it never came. Finally, for the first time, a gold for India! Congratulations @DuteeChand for winning the 100m sprint at the Universiade, the World University Games, in Naples🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/Rh4phsKCEIKiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) July 10, 2019
Meanwhile, Dutee passed on the questions raised about the current scenario at her home.
On July 10, after she won the gold in Naples, Dutee had said that the medal was a slap to those who discarded people from their families for being homosexual.
"The World University Games and Olympics are pretty similar as the competition is very high. World's best athletes participate in World University Games, which makes it even more difficult.
"I am yet to achieve the Olympic qualifying mark, which is 11.15 seconds, but I have 6-7 months time and hope to achieve it with constant support," she said.
Pull me down, I will come back stronger! pic.twitter.com/PHO86ZrExlDutee Chand (@DuteeChand) July 9, 2019
Dutee also feels that she could qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and for that she believes training outside the country along with a good diet would help.
"I always believe in training outside the nation. I also need good diet and nutrition which are lacking. If all these things fall in place, I could certainly perform even better and qualify for the Tokyo Games," she added.
Dutee, however, said that the government in her home state Odisha, has backed her.
"This year has been going well for me. I will soon figure out how much support I need from the government and the corporates. The Odisha government has assured me every possible help and I have even handed my budget to them. I just need their green signal," Dutee signed off.
(With inputs from Agencies)