Blog By: Kavitha Iyer.
”Mental health is crucial in sport”
Indian professional sprinter Dutee Chand started training unconsciously when she was a kid and used to run barefoot near her village in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. “I used to run every morning with my sister, and people in the village didn’t know about the sport and used to call me mad, asking, ‘why is she running?’ because they only knew about cricket, hockey and football. They didn’t know sprinting could be a professional sport. But, my family was very supportive. We used to run on the uneven ground, which caused a lot of blisters, and it was really cold as we didn’t even have tracksuits or shoes. Proper clothing is crucial for any training,” says the athlete.
Dutee participated in the annual sports meet in school and joined the sports association 2006 in Bhubaneswar, where she was given proper training and also got the nutritious meals an athlete requires.
Speaking about the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when she was dropped from the contingent at the last minute after the Athletic Federation of India stated that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete, Dutee says that the mental well-being of an athlete is crucial when it comes to performing and even training. “I had all my tests done and I hadn’t even heard of hyperandrogenism till that fateful day. The coach came and explained the details to me. And then, I hit a mental block.
I was going through a very different phase in life – everyone was just speculating and I heard of negative things about me from people. It seemed like everyone had an opinion and was just being accusatory. But, I controlled myself and kept my faith in God. I put my head down and just focused on training,” she adds.
Dutee, who wakes up at 5am, trains in three shifts every day – 6 am to 10 am, 11-12am and 3-6pm. Her training regime includes running, yoga and gymming. She runs at least seven km each day, which sometimes stretches on to 10-12 km as well, while gymming includes doing a lot of weights, besides using almost every machine possible.
Stating that non-oily and less fatty foods are must, Dutee says that she starts her day at 10 am each day with a breakfast comprising dosa, idli or upma, along with some boiled eggs and milk. Lunch at noon entails rice, roti, dal, aaloo gobhi or baingan, all made fresh, using a limited amount of oil. Dinner is at 8 pm and is similar, though with the addition of some non-vegetarian options.
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