Ace sprinter Dutee Chand is one of the most inspiring figures in Indian sport today. Through sheer grit and hard work, she overcame poverty and an inadequate training and sporting culture to become one of India’s premier athletes, and then battled prejudice and systemic injustice to win significant battles for gender equality.
Hailing from a small village in Odisha, Chand went on to win at national and global events, including the Asian Games, the Asian Athletics Championships, the Asian Junior Athletics Championships and the National Senior Athletics Championships. Her dream run came to an abrupt halt when the Athletics Federation of India unceremoniously dropped her from the 2014 Commonwealth Games on the charge that she was ineligible to compete as a female athlete.
Chand took the fight all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, which suspended the ban on her by the Indian body as well as the International Association of Athletics Federations.
This 2015 decision has had an enormous impact on international athletics and discriminatory ‘hyperandrogenism’ policies. Since then, Chand has chalked up a number of medals, including the 2019 gold in the Summer Universiade, Napoli, in the 100 metres category—the first Indian woman sprinter to win a gold at the event. In 2018, after the Supreme Court of India read down Section 377, Chand became the first Indian sportsperson to openly acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship.
Fiercely Female is the story of a truly modern icon, a woman who defied powerful giants to carve her own success and live life on her own terms.