Dutee Chand is in London to participate in what will be one of the biggest races of her career -- World Athletics Championships.
The 21-year-old, who became the first Indian in 36 years to represent the country in the sprint event at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, received a late invitation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to participate in the 100m, starting Saturday, August 5.
Lucky invitation from the IAAF
The Odisha sprinter failed to qualify for the world meet as she did not make the qualifying mark of 11.26s. While a lot was expected of her at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar last month, the Indian sprinter failed to deliver. She finished with a timing of 11.52s, which only fetcher her a bronze.
However, her season best of 11.30s, which came at the Indian Grand Prix in May, was enough for the IAAF to invite the athlete to London. Notably, the world athletics governing body was not able to manage 56 athletes for the biennial premier event and was forced to invite athletes, whose personal bests were close to the qualifying mark.
Dutee's 100m heats starts at 4:15pm IST on Saturday.
Notably, a day before her event at the Asian Athletics meet, the IAAF said it would reopen the "gender case", deciding to return to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with more evidence in support of its Hyperandrogenism Policy.
Dutee had been affected by the IAAF's policy, according to which her natural testosterone level was too high to be considered a woman. The Indian sprinter even missed the 2014 Commonwealth Games after being suspended by the international body. However, she took the case to the CAS, which then suspended the regulation for two years.
Dutee needs to punch above her weight
With her future on the track once again in doubt with the IAAF preparing to submit new evidence in favour of the policy, a good show in London will be a great boost to the Odisha athlete.
Amid all the distraction, Dutee has been benefited by her link-up with German professor Ralf Eckert, who has been appointed by the IAAF to oversee development in Asian countries. Having had her training in Hyderabad, Dutee has a mountain to climb when she steps on the track on Saturday.
She will run in the fifth heat and only two of the eight sprinters have poorer season bests than the Indian sprinter. Only three from each heat and six best fourth-place finishers will qualify for the semi-final.
Dutee needs to punch above her weight to have any chance of being in the top-three in her heat, which has the likes of Jamaican sprinter Simone Facey.
Anas became the only third Indian after Milkha Singh and KM Binu to qualify for the men's 400m at Rio Games. The 22-year-old national record-holder finished sixth and failed to progress beyond the heats.
However, in 2017, he has emerged stronger and has won the Asian Athletics Gold in the event, shortly after he broke the national record with a personal best of 45.32, which sealed the world meet berth.
Anas' 400m heats starts at 3:15pm IST on Saturday
Anas will be in action in Heat 6 of the 400m race today and he has to better his personal best to stand a chance of making it to the semi-final. Notably, the Kerala sprinter has the 52nd best timing of 2017 season.
The races can be watched live in India on Star Sports Select 2/Hotstar (Online).