It's been just over two years since sprinter Dutee Chand revealed that she was in a same-sex relationship. By doing so, in an interview in May 2019 with The Indian Express, Dutee became the first high-profile athlete from India to open up about being in a same-sex relationship.
But even after two years, the constant prying questions about her personal life keep on coming, revealed the sprinter at a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
"When people ask me personal questions, I don't have an issue with that. It's not like I'm not doing anything unusual," Dutee said at an event where she was announced as the face of Senco Gold & Diamonds on the occasion of Pride Month.
"A lot of journalists keep asking me deeply personal questions like 'tumhaara pyaar kitna door tak gaya? (what is the status of your relationship?)' or 'family ke log tumko accept kar rahe ki nahi? (has your family accepted your relationship)' or 'tum future main shaadi karogi? (will you get married in future?)'.
"I tell everyone the same thing. Pyaar karna koi gunaah nahi hai (it's not a crime to love someone.) Everyone falls in love, the only difference is that many people fall in love with someone from the opposite sex, and I fell in love with someone from the same sex. I love my partner a lot, and she loves me too and wants to spend the rest of her life with me."
Eye on Tokyo 2020
While the sprinter is yet to qualify for Tokyo Olympics, she said she was confident of making the cut via rankings if not the cut-off of 11.15 seconds. Her current personal best in the 100m sprint is 11.22 seconds, which is also the national record, but came in October 2019.
"Due to coronavirus, we've missed out on a lot of competitions. We were supposed to go to Poland for the World Relay Championships, and then two events in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. But I couldn't go due to the pandemic situation," she said.
At the Federation Cup event in March, Dutee (11.58 secs) was beaten by Tamil Nadu's Dhanalaxmi, who clocked 11.39 secs.
"I will try to touch the 11.15 sec qualifying standard during the Indian Grand Prix 4 (on 21 June) or the National Inter-State Championships (25-29 June). But if I don't, I am expecting qualification on the basis of rankings," said Dutee, who is 43rd in the rankings for Tokyo 2020 and currently among those who can qualify on that basis. The cut-off for Tokyo 2020 is 29 June. While 69 runners have already run under the 11.15 sec qualifying standard, many of them"mostly from Jamaica and USA " cannot go to Tokyo because the rules allow just three runners from each country to compete at the Olympics.
"At the Olympics, I'll be running against those who run 10.60secs and 10.70secs. So, I need to run faster. I've already won a medal at the Asian level. The Olympics is a big challenge for me now."