Two national records were shattered with 100m sprinter Dutee Chand hogging the limelight on the opening day of the Federation Cup National Athletics Championships. Odisha athlete Dutee clocked 11.33secs in women’s 100m dash to win the gold and erase Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old earlier national record of 11.38 secs.
Another Odisha athlete Amiya Kumar Mallick also broke the national record in men’s 100m sprint by clocking 11.26secs in the semifinals, thereby bettering the earlier national mark of 10:30secs set by Abdul Najeeb Qureshi in 2010.
Mallick, however, failed to finish at the podium in the men’s 100m race finals due to left hamstring pull.
None of the athletes, however, could qualify for the Rio Olympics on the first day of the meet. The three-day championships, the first major event of the season, also served as the qualifying event for the Rio Games.
20-year-old Dutee, who won a landmark ‘gender case’ at the Court of Arbitration for Sports against the world athletics governing body IAAF in July last year, however, missed the Rio Olympics qualification norm of 11.32secs by one-hundredth of a second.
Her Odisha state-mate Srabani Nanda was second in 11.45secs while HM Jyothi, representing Canara Bank, was third in 11.46secs in the finals at the Jawaharlal Nehru tracks here.
Dutee was banned from competitions in 2014 under IAAF’s policy on hyperandrogenism and she filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne which she won last year to clear the decks for her return to athletics.
An elated Dutee said that all her hard work and focus despite the distractions and disappointments in the last few years have given her rich dividends.
“I could not qualify for Rio Olympics but I am not disappointed by that. I am extremely happy, the national record is mine now. It is very early in the season, it’s the first meet and I have three more months to qualify for the Rio Olympics,” Dutee said after winning the race.
“I have gotten over all those disappointments related to my case (relating to IAAF’s hyperandrogenism policy). After winning the case at the CAS, I have been focussing on my running and with the help of my personal coach (N Ramesh) and my well wishers, I could achieve this,” said Dutee who trains at the Puellela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.