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Review | 'Fiercely Female': How sprinter Dutee Chand overcame obstacles to stay in the race

Sundeep Misra's book captures Dutee Chand's legal battle against the 2014 ban, her struggles to garner support at home, her resolve to resist hormone therapy, and her focus on the Tokyo Olympics.

June 26, 2021 / 01:01 PM IST
In 2014, sprinter Dutee Chand was banned from competition on grounds of hyperandrogenism. Then 19, the sprinter fought the world athletics body and got her ban overturned. Dutee is also India's first athlete to openly come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. (Image: Forbes)

In 2014, sprinter Dutee Chand was banned from competition on grounds of hyperandrogenism. Then 19, the sprinter fought the world athletics body and got her ban overturned. Dutee is also India's first athlete to openly come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. (Image: Forbes)

In India, track and field can never reach the stature of cricket. Probably not even when India wins its first track and field Olympic gold medal. Corporates have largely ignored Indian track and field athletes.

But why even compare? Why not just celebrate achievements in both.

Fiercely FemaleAnd that’s exactly what sportswriter Sundeep Misra’s Fiercely Female is about – celebrating athlete Dutee Chand, who rose from absolute poverty to become a national champion, and then took on the world athletics body when she was accused of being a ‘man’. She won the case, and went on to pick up two silver medals in the 2018 Asian Games. She became the first openly gay athlete in India in 2019, when she spoke up about her same-sex relationship.

Phew! That's quite a ride.