BHUBANESWAR: After winning a 100m dash in the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix on February 18,
Odisha's international sprinter Dutee Chand is looking for an encore when the second leg gets underway at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala on Thursday.
The national record holder, however, will face Hima Das, who has decided to compete in 100m and 200m at the season’s second senior track and field event. The 21-year-old Hima's pet event is 400m in which she won gold at the World Junior Championships and is also the national record holder.
"Hima's pet event is 400m while mine is 100m. I never saw Hima participating in 100m. Anyways, I never think about my opponents when on track. Instead, I focus on my timings," Dutee told this daily.
The 25-year-old Dutee clocked 11.51 seconds in the previous event to win gold but missed the Tokyo Olympics qualification mark of 11.15 seconds. Confident of winning the yellow metal again, Dutee, however, said making an Olympic cut at the event would be difficult. "I am in perfect shape and well prepared to touch the timing soon. But to achieve it, you need a perfect ground, quality environment and the right competitors. The Patiala ground is a training ground so it looks difficult at the moment," she opined.
Dutee set the 100m national record by clocking 11.22 seconds in Ranchi in 2019. She needs to improve her best at least by .7 seconds if she wishes to qualify for the Tokyo Games. "Timing is more important for me than winning a medal. My best was 11.22 seconds and I am hopeful if I get the opportunity to participate in two or three overseas events before the Olympics, I will meet the target."