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Dutee’s exclusion from Indian squad rocks Odisha Assembly

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 19:

The last minute exclusion of Odisha’s top sprinter Dutee Chand from the Indian squad for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow following tests conducted by Sports Authority of India (SAI) was raised in the Odisha Assembly during the Question Hour today.

Raising the issue, the ruling party MLA from Athagarh Ranendra Pratap Swain called it a ‘conspiracy ‘against Dutee to debar her from the games at Glasgow.

Dutee Chand
Dutee Chand

Swain said the government should take appropriate steps to undo the injustice meted out to her.

“Dutee showed her excellence in athletics and won gold medals. What has this government done? Is it not the bounden duty of the government to raise its voice against the conspiracy against this rising star because she hails from Odisha? Had she been from Punjab or any other state she would have been in Glasgow by now. Isn’t it a case of injustice towards Dutee Chand ? Why couldn’t the department send its secretary to Bangalore instead of sending two coaches to fetch her from there?”, the agitated lawmaker asked.

Terming it as an injustice not only towards Dutee Chand but also Odisha, the Sports minister Sudam Marandi said his ministry has already written to the Athletics Federation of India seeking to know under what circumstances only Dutee Chand was made to undergo the medical test while others were not.

Marandi said since the incident happened just two days before the departure of the team for the Commonwealth Games he couldn’t do much about it. However, his department has already taken steps and will take further steps in the matter in the future, he assured.

The news reports of Babiana Kullu, a former sprinter from Sundargarh working as a maid in Mumbai and Rashmita Patra, a former woman footballer in Kendrapara running a paan shop to eke out a living even after international careers as sportspersons were also raised by different members in the House during the Question Hour.

The Sports minister in his reply said his department is aware of the news reports and taking appropriate steps at different levels to deal with such issues.