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Parents proud of Dutee’s win, but still against her same-sex relationship

July 11, 2019 06:17 AM


Parents proud of Dutee’s win, but still against her same-sex relationship
Ashish Senapati & Sujit Bisoyi TNN


When Odia sprinter Dutee Chand recently announced that she was in a same-sex relationship, her family and the residents of her village of Chhak Gopalpur in Odisha’s Jajpur district, she had brought shame to the village and let them down.

Two months on, villagers, including Dutee’s parents, let go of some of the hate and celebrated with the rest of the country as she became the first Indian woman track and field athlete to clinch a 100m gold in the World Universiade in Napoli.

Dutee’s parents — impoverished weavers Chakradhar and Akhuji — were upset at her being in a lesbian relationship. On Wednesday, they distributed sweets among the villagers but added that their disapproval of her life choices had not changed. “We are still against the relationship of our daughter. We will continue to object to it. But our best wishes are always with her; we want her to excel on the track and bring laurels to the country and the state,” said Akhuji. She added that she would pray for her 23-year old daughter before her final event. Dutee’s elder sister, also congratulated her for the feat.

“We are extremely happy that Dutee won gold. She has inspired the youth. We are proud of her,” said Saraswati. The hostility Dutee faced from her family after she came out seemed to have preyed on her mind. In a tweet posted just after she received the medal, she said, “Pull me down, I will come back stronger”. Many felt the tweet was aimed at her detractors back home.

Asked to comment on the tweet, Saraswati denied it had anything to do with her family. “She might have tweeted in such a way as her journey so far has been full of guts and glory. I don’t think she wants to say anything to our family.” Dutee’s mother said she was not aware of any such tweets by her daughter

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