New Delhi, May 19: She has created waves on the track, now Dutee Chand has decided to create a sensation off it. The star athlete from Odisha has become the first Indian sportsperson to declare that she is in a same sex relationship.
The Asian Games silver medallist has created a splash by declaring that she is in a relationship with a girl from her hometown Chaka Gopalpur in Odisha. But she refused to disclose the identity of her alleged soulmate as she did not want to make her "the centre of undue attention".
"I have found someone who is my soulmate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person's choice. Currently, my focus is on the World Championships and the Olympic Games but in the future I would like to settle down with her," Dutee was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
"I have always believed that everyone should have the freedom to love. There is no greater emotion than love and it should not be denied. The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want. It is a personal decision, which should be respected. I will continue to strive to win medals for India at international meets," she added.
A former junior Asian champion in the women's 200 metre, Dutee had claimed two silver medals at the Asian Games last year with second place finishes in the women's 100m and 200m.
The 100m medal was India's first in the event after a gap of 20 years while the 200m silver was the first after 16 years.
The star sprinter is currently gearing up for the World Championships to be held later this year after which she will shift her focus to next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"I wanted to be with someone who will encourage me to continue being a sportsperson. I have been a sprinter for the past 10 years and I will perhaps continue to run for the next five to seven years. I travel around the world to compete. It is not easy. Mujhe kisi ka sahara bhi chahiye (I need someone who will support me on the personal front)," she said.
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