Dutee Chand, India's fastest woman, has revealed her retirement plans. (More Sports News)
The 26-year-old from Jajpur in Odisha, while admitting that she is "growing old" and not as fast as she used to be, said that "I plan to retire after the 2024 Olympics. None of the athletes from my generation are still competing, they've all retired."
If Dutee Chand qualifies for Paris Games, it will be her third Olympics. She already represented India at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
But it's still a long journey to Paris 2024. Her focus, for now, is on the upcoming events this year -- the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World University Games and World Championships.
"I'm growing old, I'm not as fast as I used to be," Dutee Chand told ESPN, hours after losing the 200m event to Priya Mohan at the Khelo India University Games 2022 in Bengaluru. “I'll pull along for two-three more years if my body cooperates."
Chand however said that she "never intended to run the 200m," but was only giving it a shot at her coach's insistence. She did win the 100m event with a timing of 11.63s.
At the 2018 Jakarta Asiad, Dutee Chand won silvers in women's 100m and 200m events. But hitting the qualifying marks the upcoming international events year will be tough.
"I'm certainly aiming for the gold this time (in 100m), but it won't be easy. The current generation of runners are clocking times of 11.1s and the Chinese runners have even run 10.9s. My body is becoming slower and I began training quite late this season, but I feel I still have it in me," added the multiple Asian Games medallist.
Her season-best of 11.68s this year is a far cry from the qualifying marks set for the international events -- Asian Games (11.36s), Commonwealth Games (11.31s), World University Games (11.44s), and World Championships (11.15s).
Dutee Chand however recorded her personal best and national record of 11.17s at the Indian Grand Prix in Patiala last year.
So, there remain hopes for the Indian sprint queen.
"I've already participated in five events this year to make the cut for these international events… I'm confident of hitting my peak in June-July before the international circuit begins,” Dutee Chand exudes confidence.
And she hopes to open an athletics academy in Odisha. It will be called 'Dutee Chand Athletics Speed Academy'.