Dutee Chand scorches track, betters own national record

Dutee Chand broke her 100m national record to become the fastest woman of the meet while Hima Das clinched her second gold by posting a personal best in the 400m as they shared the spotlight on the final day of the 58th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships.

The two easily clinched their berths in the Asian Games team by bettering the qualifying marks set by the Athletics Federation of India. Dutee qualified in 100m and 200m while local favorite Hima booked the Asiad ticket in 200m and 400m. The semifinal was run under very good conditions in the morning while the rain had made the track at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium a bit heavy during the final race.

The final race was a bit heavy because of rain in the afternoon but despite that, I clocked 11.32. I could have run faster in the final. In the semifinals, the conditions were just perfect and I and my coach (N Ramesh) decided to go for the national record. I am very happy but I will try to further dip the timing.

The 22-year-old Dutee, representing Odisha, ran 11.29 second in the semifinal race in the morning to better her national record of 11.30 and later clinched the gold in 11.32 in the final to establish herself as a gold medal contender in the upcoming Asian Games.

In women’s heptathlon, Purnima Hembram of Odisha and Swapna Barman of Bengal qualified with aggregate points of 5898 and 5725, respectively, from the seven events. Meanwhile, V K Elakkiya Dasan became the fastest man of the meet by winning the 100m dash in 10.39 seconds, which is well outside the qualifying time of 10.18.

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