Dutee Chand set the Nehru Stadium track ablaze by erasing the 15-year-old women’s 100m record on the opening day of the Federation Cup on Thursday. Dutee clocked 11.33 seconds to enter the record books. The previous record of 11.38 secs was set by Rachita Mistry in 2000.

The Odisha sprinter wasn’t upset over missing the Rio qualification mark of 11.32 secs, but looked forward to Saturday’s 200m final. “My fitness is good, so posting another good timing shouldn’t be a challenging task,” she said. The Rio qualifying time in 200m is 23.20 secs.

 

By setting a national record, Dutee also proved her critics wrong. Her proposal to train in the US hasn’t been cleared by the government as sprinters aren’t expected to make a mark at the Olympics. Since then, she has been training in Hyderabad.

 

Thursday was also about Pinki Pramanik who made a comeback after eight years. She may have clocked 12.33 seconds in the women’s 100m final at the 20th Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships to finish a lowly seventh. But what she had achieved was more than what she had come to the national capital for.

Thursday’s 100m was just a start but her main events – 400m and 800m – are still to come and that’s what she was dreaming of competing in during her time in a Kolkata prison.

In 2012, a rape allegation by a female athlete led to tests to determine her gender. Pramanik, however, was cleared of all charges and is on her way back as India’s top woman athlete.

 

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