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“I was nervous! And under a lot of pressure,” said Dutee Chand of the time in late June when she sat helpless hoping that her world ranking of No. 44 in 100m and No. 51 in that of 200m would be enough for her to make her second Olympics.
Devoid of international events, Dutee had to rely on two national meets to attain the qualifying time. She set a national record in the marquee event at the Indian Grand Prix with a timing of 11.17 seconds in May but finished a miserable fourth at the 100m event at the Inter-State Athletics Championships early in June. But bettering her own mark still kept her 0.02 seconds too far from that of the Olympics.
Dutee’s prayers were however answered early in July when her rankings proved enough for a Tokyo berth in both the events. And on July 30, when Dutee Chand gets on mark for the 100m heats at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, she will be representing more than just the Indian flag.
Dutee’s first tryst at the Olympics was forgettable as she failed to qualify for the semifinals. But she hopes her second sojourn would be different. “I have been training very hard,” Dutee, whose Rio sojourn ended on a disappointing note as her 11.69 seconds was not enough to make it beyond the heats, told TOI.
“My target is to attain a timing of 11.10 (in 100m) and I am already getting close to that. I have already gotten to 11.13 in training.”
To improve upon her record-setting time by 0.07 seconds in the space of less than two months is a tough task. And her shot at a second attempt already had the roadblock of a pandemic to cross. “I was becoming nervous as all the meets that I had targeted for my qualification were getting cancelled,” Dutee said in an interaction from Patiala.



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