India’s fastest woman Dutee Chand is wary of missing out of the Olympics after she was deprived of her training-cum-competition stint in Germany due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected her plans to qualify for the Tokyo Games.
The 24-year-old Dutee was to train and take part in Olympic qualifying events in Germany from March 2 but despite getting the visa and sponsorship, she could not make it there as Europe has now turned into an epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I was to go for a training-cum-competition stint in Germany from March 2. I was planning to run in some quality competitions in Europe and hoping to qualify for the Olympics. But all my plans fell apart due to this coronavirus,” Dutee told PTI from Patiala where she is taking part in the first leg of the Indian Grand Prix series on Friday.
“I have got the visa and other travel documents and was ready to go to Germany. But suddenly I got the message from the training base in Germany that I should not come due to the spread of coronavirus. I am very disappointed,” said the national record holder 100m sprinter.
Asked how confident she is about qualifying for Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July-August, Dutee, who won a silver each in both 100m and 200m in 2018 Asian Games, said, “I don’t know. I am worried that I may not qualify for the Olympics.
“It is very tough to qualify for the Olympics, the qualification mark is 11.15 seconds. You get good competitors in Europe and that pushes up your timing. Here only five athletes are taking part in 100m (in Indian GP). Competition is not much here,” said Dutee, who has a personal best of 11.22 secs.
She is still hoping that the situation caused by the virus improves in the days to come and she gets some quality competitions in Europe.
“I know the situation is bad and I may not get any race in Europe. But I am still hoping. Now I have these Indian GP series and the Federation Cup (in Patiala next month) to try and qualify for Olympics. Let us see.”
Talking about the threat of coronavirus wrecking havoc in many countries in the world, she said, “The situation is bad. I am not going out other than for training, not doing any other non-essential things as you can get the virus. I am training hard also as I cannot stop doing that whether there is coronavirus or not.
“I am maintaining good hygiene, not having outside food, washing hands frequently. But I cannot use sanitisers all the time while training. Hope this situation is over fast in India and in the world.”