Sprinter Dutee Chand accepts being in same-sex relationship
Bhubaneswar: India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand has opened up about her personal life and accepted that she has found her soulmate in a woman. While no names were taken, Chand confirmed that her partner is from her home-town whom she has known for a few years
Dutee Chand, 23, the 100 m record holder and winner of two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, has thus become the first Indian sports star to acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship.
The sprinter is training for to qualify for the World Championships and Tokyo Olympics next year, has admitted that while a union with her dream partner is on her mind, all her attention right now is on securing a berth for the two upcoming tournaments.
“I have found someone who is my soulmate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person’s choice. Currently, my focus is on the World Championships and the Olympic Games but in the future, I would like to settle down with her,” Dutee told The Indian Express.
The Indian Express also reported that Chand got the courage after Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code got repelled last year.
“I have always believed that everyone should have the freedom to love. There is no greater emotion than love and it should not be denied. The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want. It is a personal decision, which should be respected. I will continue to strive to win medals for India at international meets,” Dutee said.
Though India is yet to legalize same-sex marriage, there is no law that prohibits a union.
Dutee hails from a Chaka Gopalpur village of Jajpur district and has been an inspiration for sprinting enthusiasts of Odisha.
In 2014, Dutee was dropped from India’s Commonwealth Games team after officials claimed she fell foul of the testosterone-cap rules. She had successfully moved the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules on hyperandrogenism, which put a cap on the testosterone levels of women athletes who wanted to compete in track and field events. The IAAF withdrew the rules last year, which allowed her to run and win in the 100 m and 200 m.