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India’s ace sprinter Dutee Chand is from a small village Chaka, Gopalpur district of Odisha and does not need an introduction.

She proved her that hard work pays off just at the age of 11. Pursued sports as it would help her get a government job that’s how Dutee started running along the riverbank barefoot thus began the journey of India’s finest athlete in the making. She is candid when she speaks to Krishti Khound about her personal and professional wins and as well as her plans for the future.

Hi Dutee! The whole nation is chanting your name with a certain pride in their faces as Indians. I want to know how do you feel about it, was it a dream always?

My only dream was to get a job for which I knew I had to work hard for it. My sister Saraswati didi (Chand) is also an athlete always inspired me to work towards my goal. Since I am from a family whose monthly income was about `200 a month, you can imagine the struggle we had even to have two meals a day. I haven’t had any other option to get a job since I wasn’t educated, sports was my only ambition. In 2012, Jajpur district of Odisha I broke the national record in the under-18 category by clocking 11.8 seconds at the 100m event and again in 2013, I became the first Indian woman to reach the 100m final at the World Youth Championships. I knew I had worked hard but then I realised that dreams do come true. And dreams do change with time. Now my dream is to get a medal in the 2020 Olympics.

The win for the medals in the last years are truly symbolic, could you throw some light on your journey so far?

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December 2019