Other Sports

Dutee Chand finds support in Santhi

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S. Santhi has expressed her dismay at the lack of sensitivity in the handling of the Dutee Chand issue, fearing that the young athlete’s future may have now been jeopardised.

Dutee was dropped from the Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after the Sports Authority of India stated this week that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete.

Santhi, who in 2006 was stripped of her silver medal from the Doha Asian Games for failing a gender test, empathised with the Odisha sprinter.

“They have tested her at the last minute, humiliated her and broken her heart,” she told The Hindu. “All sorts of things have been written about her. Now, if she re-enters the sports field, things will not be normal. Even if she takes treatment, people will kill her with their suspicious gaze.”

Santhi felt the matter could have been dealt with discreetly.

“That things became public, is wrong. Would they have done it if it was their daughter?” she asked. “Who is responsible for her future now? The job and the money are secondary problems. Think about how much she would have suffered. She is not from a wealthy or powerful family; just another ordinary family.

“Even if she gets help from the State association, can she stay in peace in her village? She will find it tough to get married.”

The SAI has suggested that it may be possible for Dutee to compete again with medical intervention. Santhi demanded that all steps be taken to ensure the 18-year-old’s return to the track. “She is a future Olympian. If India needs an athletics medal at the Olympics, Dutee is the best hope. It is the duty of every Indian to ensure that she runs again. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to be lenient in these matters,” she said.

Encouragement

From Santhi’s end, though, there is no shortage of encouragement for Dutee.

“If I meet her, I will tell her the problems I had faced,” said the 33-year-old, who recently graduated as an NIS coach.

“I will also tell her about how I re-entered the world of sports. I will tell her: ‘Don’t worry. You will get many chances in life. You will get an Olympic medal.’ I will tell her to be brave.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 3:50:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/dutee-chand-finds-support-in-santhi/article6226836.ece

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