HYDERABAD: Gachibowli Stadium attracts many top-level athletes, who train at the venue’s tracks.
Until last year, Dutee Chand was a daily visitor, accompanied by mentor-cum-coach N Ramesh. However, the sprinter has decided to go back to native state Odisha, owing to the deteriorating conditions of the tracks. These days, she is busy preparing for World Athletics Championships, in Doha from September 27.
Until Tuesday, Dutee’s participation was subject to an IAAF invitation, provided she maintained a 100m world rank within 48. Ramesh told this daily on Wednesday that her participation has been confirmed by the body, though she had fallen short of the qualifying mark of 11.24s. The 23-year-old is training hard at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
“Based on the timing, I had fallen short. But I had a few good performances this year. That helped me get the required rank,” said Dutee. “Even if I had not got the nod, I would have continued to work hard. It is extremely beneficial that I will get to participate now.”
Though she has left Hyderabad, Ramesh continues to monitor her progress. He travelled with her to all competitions this year. The Dronacharya awardee is likely to fly to Bhubaneswar to train her ward. “We are extremely delighted that she got the invitation. We have designed her training regime to cover basics as well as advanced things. She needs to get more exposure at the international level. The more she competes there, the better she will get. Training-wise, she is in a comfortable place. So, that is not an issue.”
For the time being, Dutee is only concentrating on 100m. “I have taken part in many events this year. So, my body is tired. That is why decided to concentrated solely on 100m,” the athlete said. Better infrastructure coupled with a familiar environment is playing a big role in her growth. “The state government has created facilities that are way better than what I used to get in Hyderabad. The Abhinav Bindra high-performance centre is also here. So, I do not think I need to go back to Hyderabad. Ramesh Sir visits me from time to time and guides me,” she said.
The sprinter also acknowledged the role played by Pullela Gopichand in saving her career. “I will forever be indebted to him. He gave me shelter in 2014, when I was thrown out of the national camp. That place will always be special to me. But at the same time, I need to be close to my family, and in an environment where I feel that I belong. Living in one room at the academy was slowly taking its toll.”