National Champion and LGBT icon Dutee Chand is a force to reckon with


How Olympian Dutee Chand is encouraging more women to take up sports

There’s no stopping the Puma ambassador

By Subhanjana Das  January 31st, 2020

After the 2018 Asian games, TV screens, Instagram feeds, and news portals were flashing one name: Dutee Chand. The sprinter from Odisha had bagged the silver medal for India in the Women’s 100 metres and the 200 metres finals consecutively. “Till now, I haven’t seen anyone as my icon and I motivate myself more.” That comes as no surprise given how she has made challenges her stepping stones to success. And her resilient spirit isn’t restricted to her performance on the track, it reflects in her future goals as well.

Not only does she dream of winning an Olympic medal, but she also nurtures a dream that “the new generation should get good training and bring a medal for our country in the Olympics.” And it looks like she is fast-tracking her way to that goal, now that she is all set to start her own sports academy across the districts in Odisha. “I come from a background where I didn’t have opportunities because I was poor. I had talent but I did not have any support, had no ground, no coach. I’ve worked hard and reached where I am today and I’m aware how tough it is in sports. I don’t want anyone to face all of this. I want to start an academy for this very reason,” shares Chand.

 

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The trailblazer is Puma’s current brand ambassador, and it’s a collaboration she holds close to her heart. The journey from running barefoot in her village to having the best gear at her disposal is one for the books. Talking about Puma’s latest campaign Propah Lady, which shows that there are no rules of how a woman should behave, Chand says, “A girl is always questioned about what she is wearing, how she is walking, what she is eating, and so on. The campaign is all about how we should not listen to all that and how we should be ourselves.”