Dutee Chand Faces Gender Case, But She Has Her Village’s Support

“This is really sad for our village. She is the pride of the village. The girl has already suffered so much.”

4 min read
Dutee runs during the 100m event at the Rio Olympics last year.

While the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided to reopen Dutee Chand’s gender case saying that they have fresh evidence in support of its Hyperandrogenism policy, The Indian Express captured the mood of the sprinter’s village Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha.

Bhubaneswar is all set for the Asian Athletics Championships, and Chaka Gopalpur, which is two hours’ drive away, is equally excited for the Championships, mainly because of its star runner Dutee Chand. However, the village is fully aware of IAAF’s latest move against Chand.

Path Towards Dutee’s House

The sprinters’ uncle Dasrath Chand is unable to understand how, if Dutee has an advantage over other women, does she get beaten.

If she has an advantage, can someone explain how she was beaten by other women at the Olympics?
Dasrath Chand to Indian Express

Anantha Charan Das couldn’t help but sympathise with Chand’s situation.

This is really sad for our village. She is the pride of the village and the state. The girl has already suffered so much.
Anantha Charan Das to Indian Express

Chand’s Fighting Spirit

Dutee Chand in action during training.
Dutee Chand in action during training.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Dutee Chand)

The sprinter’s elder sister Saraswati is the biggest inspiration in Dutee’s life. Saraswati was the first girl from the village to go against elders and take up running seriously. Most of the people in the village told Saraswati’s parents to make her work in the kitchen.

The family didn’t discourage Saraswati because she was backed by a teacher in school to run and she was given mid-day meals.

She went onto participate in state-level competitions for Odisha.

Saraswati is the one who really struggled for the family and paved the way for Dutee. Without Saraswati, there would have been no Dutee. Dutee has now taken them to prosperity and given them fame.
Hema Chand, Saraswati’s Aunt
Dutee Chand clicks a selfie with former India opener Virender Sehwag.
Dutee Chand clicks a selfie with former India opener Virender Sehwag.
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Dutee Chand)

Mud-Walled House to Concrete House

Dutee Chand’s house, which once had mud walls and a thatched roof, is now a two-storeyed building. Her parents used to earn Rs 10 per day weaving sarees.

Dutee’s father Chakradhar spoke about the time he had to borrow money to keep his family from being hungry.

I don’t know how much I owed the moneylender. Now, Saraswati and Dutee have paid back the money we had borrowed and we are debt-free.
Chakradhar Chand to Indian Express

Village Going Through Transformation

It’s not just Dutee’s house, the entire village is going through a transformation. A government scheme is being implemented which is turning the mud-walled homes to well-structured houses.

Concrete is being laid on the muddy roads and the power cuts are being put under control.

However, Charan Das feels that more work is required to be done for the weavers who are still struggling to go through their lives.

Not every weaver family has the good fortune to have daughters like Dutee and Saraswati.
Charan Das

Chand’s Sibling Takes Up Running

The runner’s other sibling 15-year-old Pratiba has also shown interest in track and field.

The family now has two cows but they have yielded poor milk which has been detrimental to Chakradhar’s plans of making more money. But, the family is financially secure because of his daughters.

Dutee is planning to build a second floor and the family owns a scooter and a motorbike. The two-wheelers are mostly used by Saraswati, who goes to the banks of the Brahmani river to train four girls from the village.

They also had a Nano car, which was driven around by the girls, but one day, the car was on fire.

We don’t know how the car caught fire. I don’t suspect any foulplay because we like to believe we have no enemies. Everyone cares for Dutee here.
Chakradhar Chand to Indian Express

Father Stays Back at Home

Chakradhar has asked his wife and two daughters to watch and support Dutee Chand at the Asian Athletics Championship as he wants to take care of one particular cow.

Only I can handle this particular cow. So I asked my wife to accompany two of my daughters to Bhubaneswar so they can watch Dutee run. My wife and I travelled to Guwahati during the South Asian Games. So I will stay here.
Chakradhar Chand to Indian Express

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