Ace sprinter Dutee Chand is disappointed with India’s forced withdrawal from World Athletics Relays in Poland, stating 'all the hard work went in vain’.
The Indian contingent was to depart for Amsterdam on April 28 via the KLM flight but it got canceled after the Dutch authorities suspended all flights from India due to the COVID-19 second wave.
After the Indian women’s 4x400m team withdrew from the event citing injuries earlier, all hopes were on the men’s 4×400m and women’s 4x100m teams. The focus was especially on the women’s 4x100m team as they had a great chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after powerhouses USA and Jamaica withdrew from the event.
The women’s 4x100m team included Dutee Chand, Hima Das, Himashree Roy, AT Daneshwari, 2021 Federation Cup women’s 100m champion S Dhanalakshmi and Archana Suseendran. Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Sarthak Bhambri, Naganathan Pandi, Ayyasamy Dharun, Nirmal Noah Tom and Arokia Rajiv constituted the men’s 4x400m side.
“It’s very sad we weren’t able to go to Poland. We had a great team and were confident of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. We had a great training for the past few days, our baton exchange practice also went well because I was in the national camp for the last month. The sad part is that all the hard work went in vain,” Dutee Chand told Sportskeeda from NIS Patiala on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Dutee Chand, a proud owner of the women's 100m national record with 11.22s, has had a brilliant 2021 so far with two gold medals - the Indian Grand Prix 1 and 2 - already in her pocket. However, Dutee Chand's only slump came in the Federation Cup last month where she was beaten to silver by S Dhanalakshmi.
Meanwhile, the Odisha sprinter isn’t of the thought that the AFI should have sent them a bit earlier to Poland.
Most countries have barred Indian athletes from participating in their competitions pertaining to the current COVID situation in the Asian country.
“We prepare according to the competition. And it’s true that athletes reach their destination some days earlier. But now with the COVID situation coming into play, no athletes are allowed to stay for a longer period. You go, compete and return back soon after,” Dutee Chand explained.
No events for track & field athletes likely in May
However, with India recording close to three lakh new cases and around 2000 casualties on a daily basis, no federation would like to risk their athletes and stage any kind of competition in the next month.
The delay in one way has partially paralyzed Hima Das and Dutee Chand’s chances although the Odisha sprinter is confident of making the Tokyo Olympics cut on the basis of the IAAF world rankings.
“We will train as we have been doing for the past few months. It’s up to the federation to decide on to our next events. But as far as the current situation is concerned, I don’t think there will be any events in the month of May because the foreign competitions aren’t allowing the Indians to participate in it because of COVID,” added Dutee Chand.
On Thursday, SAI has adopted a new decision that all the Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes will be able to train in small groups during quarantine. Dutee Chand, who has been training at NIS Patiala for the past month, welcomed the move stating it was needed for the athletes.
“It’s a nice step by the SAI. Staying in quarantine with no intense training affects a lot for any athlete but now it will help them to stay in shape while in isolation,” Dutee Chand concluded.