Sport

Dutee Chand: Hope everyone continues to support me… good to know there's acceptance

Dutee Chand: Hope everyone continues to support me… good to know there's acceptance

India’s sprint queen Dutee Chand is overwhelmed by the support she has received a day after she spoke about being in a same-sex relationship with a girl from her hometown. The 100m national record holder told The Indian Express on Saturday that she had found a soulmate who she wants to settle down with in the future.

On Sunday, Dutee was pleasantly surprised by the ‘positive feedback’ on social media and the calls she received from people who threw their weight behind her decision to talk about the same-sex relationship.

“I hope that everyone continues to support me on and off the track. I have heard that there are a lot of people who have supported me. It feels good that there is acceptance,” Dutee said on Sunday.

However, her immediate family is yet to come around. The 23-year-old’s elder sister Saraswati is reportedly upset about Dutee’s decision to be with the girl, whom the athlete has known for a few years. “I hope my sister will be able to understand my reason for being with who I want to be with. As time passes, I believe she will support me,” Dutee added.

The sprinter, who won two silver medals — in the 100m and 200m — at last year’s Asian Games, does not want to lose focus when it comes to her career. She is determined to meet the qualifying guidelines for the World Championships in September-October and next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“Athletics has given me everything, so I am focused on training as hard as I can and doing my best to qualify for the big events and continue to win medals for India in international meets.”

Born in Chaka Gopalpur, a village of weavers in Jajpur district of Orissa, Dutee said she got the courage to speak out after the Supreme Court’s historic decision adjudge Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional last year.

On Saturday, Dutee said: “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. In the future, I would like to settle down with her.”

In September last year, the Supreme Court had scrapped a 158-year-old British era law that banned same-sex relations between consenting adults in private and punished them with jail terms. “The sexual orientation of each individual in the society must be protected on an even platform for the right to privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article(s) 14, 15 and 21 of the constitution,” the five-judge bench ruled.