Bhubaneswar, Aug 19: Indian sprinter Dutee Chand experienced the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with cancer in November 2021. She came to know after her disappointing performance in the preliminary round of the women's 100m and 200m races at the Tokyo Olympics.
Dr Sudeep Satpathy, a sports medicine expert from the Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Bhubaneswar, detected the early signs of cancer in Dutee's body.
Recalling her conversation with the doctor after receiving the MRI report, Dutee expressed her fear and confusion about what this meant for her life. She mentioned that Doctor Satpathy had previously worked with the Indian hockey team.
Dutee explained that her health problems began with a groin injury earlier in 2021 during the National Inter-State Championships leading up to the Olympics. Despite seeking medical advice for persistent pain in her groin area, no concrete solutions were found until she underwent an ultrasound and later an MRI scan in November 2021.
It was then that Doctor Satpathy revealed to Dutee that she had been attacked by stage 1 cancer and advised her to quit sports before it worsened.
Dutee speculated that hormonal imbalances related to testosterone could be linked to this cancer development primarily affecting her groin area. Initially dismissed as just groin pain by others, Doctor Satpathy warned Dutee about potential complications if left untreated.
In addition to battling this recent health setback, Dutee has faced other challenges throughout her career.
In 2015, she successfully contested against world athletics governing body's policy on hyperandrogenism at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). This policy initially deemed Dutee ineligible for competition due to naturally high levels of testosterone as a female athlete.
Furthermore, Dutee made headlines in 2019 when she openly discussed her same-sex relationship, becoming the first Indian athlete to do so.
Worth mentioning, despite these personal and professional struggles, Dutee has consistently showcased her talent, winning silver medals in the 100m and 200m events at the 2018 Asian Games.