Dutee-Chand

The Journey from Poverty to Puma’s Brand Ambassador: Dutee Chand

Dutee Chand, a girl from a poverty-stricken family, had made headlines after winning gold at the World University Games last year. She became the first Indian woman track and field athlete to clinch a gold medal in the World University Games by winning the women’s 100m dash in Napoli, Italy by clocking 11.32 seconds.

She also got a chance to become the brand ambassador of the global sports brand ‘PUMA’. Chand has signed her first endorsement deal with the sports brand for two years. As part of Puma’s brand ambassador, Dutee Chand is expected to make appearances at Puma retail outlets and social media, participate in mass media campaigns. Also, lend her name to a range of custom-made sportswear from the firm.

Chand joins athletes which include retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (the global endorser), Indian cricketers Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Indian boxer Mary Kom and footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who endorse Puma in India.

Beginning Story if Indian Athlete Dutee Chand

Dutee was born on 3rd February 1996 in a poor weaver family of Gopalpur village of Jajpur district, Odisha. One among 7 siblings got the inspiration to start a career in sports from their elder sister. 

Dutee Chand’s elder sister Saraswati Chand ran for the state and got a job in Odisha Police. This aspired Dutte to get into sports and contribute to the family income. 

The Race to Rio

At the age of 16, Dutee Chand locked 11.8 seconds in the 100 metres event and became a national champion in the under-18 category.

In 2013, she became the first Indian to reach the 100 metres final at the World Youth Championships.

Chand then was crowned the national champion in 100 metres and 200 metres. She won the events clocking 11.73 seconds in the final in 100 metres. A career-best 23.73 seconds in 200 metres at the 2013 National Senior Athletics Championships in Ranchi.

Struggle Story

In 2014, Chand was dropped from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Incheon. She was dropped from the Indian team after her naturally-occurring testosterone levels were found in breach of the IAAF’s guidelines. 

Comeback of Dutee Chand
Source: The Hindu

This decision was made in compliance with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on “female hyperandrogenism” designed to address a perceived advantage for female athletes with high androgen levels.

Therefore, she had to undergo surgery and get medication to enhance her testosterone level. After her recovery, she challenged the guidelines at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). CAS subsequently asked the IAAF to present scientific evidence that proved testosterone levels improved performance in hyperandrogenic athletes within two years.

Finally after a lot of uncertainty and confusion, in July 2015, a 19-year-old Dutee was cleared by CAS to participate in domestic and international sports. 

The Come-Back of Spinster Dutee Chand

Chand made a powerful comeback at the 55th National Open Athletic Championship in September 2015.

At the 2016 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Doha, Dutee Chand set a new national record in the 60 metre, clocking 7.28 seconds. She clocked 11.33 seconds in the women’s 100m dash to win the gold in the 2016 Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in New Delhi. And broke Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old national record of 11.38 seconds.

Finally, on 25th June 2016, Chand broke the very same National record twice in one day at the XVI International G Kosanov Memorial in Almaty, Kazakhstan, qualifying for the Olympic Games.

Controversy

Champion sprinter Dutee became the first Indian athlete to come out and declare she is in a same-sex relationship. After her announcement, where there was support from the media, sports community and LGBT community. At the same time, it created a controversy too. 

Dutee Chand
Source: TheWeek

Later Dutee Chand revealed that she is in a relationship with a girl from her hometown. But denied disclosing identity due to privacy concern. Soon after her announcement, the sports community and media has supported accepting same-gender relationships. But after this news, Chand’s family and villager are upset as they are not ready to accept the same-sex relationship. 

Later, Dutee’s elder sister claimed that Dutee was forced to speak about her relationship with the girl she is with. Dutee’s sister also appealed to the government to provide protection and security to Dutee.

In contrast, she claimed that her family was not happy with her relationship. She was facing a tough battle of acceptance. Dutee claimed that her eldest sister has threatened to throw her out from the family and send her to jail.

Hence, the story of champion Dutee Chand was never smooth. Her journey was full of bumpy on the track and off the track. Everyone is waiting eagerly for her performance in postponed 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

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