Mumbai: With focus trained on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Asian Games double medalist sprinter Dutee Chand is gearing up to train overseas. "Basically, I always look to improve on my personal bests. There are no better fighters than me in India. And moreover there are just a handful of events that go on in the country — Senior Federation Cup, Senior Nationals and the state-meet.
"So, working for just these three competitions, and given that theres a lack of good fighters, the timings are not coming (along)," said Dutee, who won two medals at the recent Asian Games.
"Now with the state government declaring that it would help by funding for the preparations of the Tokyo Olympics, I will head out of the country and participate in bigger competitions to get a better timing. Because my body's equipped for that," explained the 22-year-old sprinter from Odisha.
She was speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of an event where Glanbia launched a new nutrition product. According to Dutee, the Indian athletes clock around 11.6-11.7s and training with them won't help her.
"In 100 metres, if there's someone running in front of you, it acts as an extra motivation to go past that athlete. In India, there are athletes who are clocking around 11.6-11.7s. Hence, running with them won't ever help me achieve a timing around the 11s mark.
"I'll head out of the country and train for the Tokyo Olympics. Once I train with sprinters outside the country, they'll guide me on my mistakes and where I should improve. Also, I need to work on my strength training because theres not much regarding that in India," she said.
Dutee is aiming to clock 11.15 in 2019 in the 100metres and cut it further at the Tokyo Olympics. "For 2019, my target is 11.15s and for the Tokyo Olympics, I've kept a target of 11-11.1s (in 100metres).
Let's see how far it goes," she added. Meanwhile, middle-distance runner Jinson Johnson, who won the 1500 metres gold at the Asian Games after clinching silver behind compatriot Manjit Singh in the 800m, said the metric mile race will be his focus at the Tokyo Olympics.
"There's a better chance of winning the 800m medal at the Asian level. I plan to run both 800m as well as 1500m next year at the Asian Championships. But at the world-class levels, it is better (for me) to focus only on 1500m. "I plan to run only the 1500m race at the (Tokyo) Olympics," Johnson told reporters.