NEW DELHI — India's fastest woman Dutee Chand believes that the Khelo India University Games will help India to unearth talent for the future.
The first edition of the competition will be held in Bhubaneswar from Feb. 22 to March 1.
The sprinter, who clinched gold at the World University Games last year, feels that most of the sporting talents exist in schools and colleges.
"The Khelo India University Games is a great way to unearth talent in this country. People study and play sports side by side. So, most of the talent exists in schools and universities. Sports are played mostly by students. We will get to know who has talent in the University Games. I will be taking part in the tournament as well," said the 23-year-old.
Chand, who set her personal best and bettered her own national 100m record with a timing of 11.22 seconds at the National Open Athletics Championships last year, thanked the Odisha government for supporting sportspersons and helping them to make a career in sports.
"The Odisha government is supporting the sports circuit very well. Athletes are getting jobs in the government sector and they are providing facilities for all athletes to perform as well. So I am very happy that the athletes are being supported by the government. Earlier, one could make a career only by studying, but now it has changed. One has a chance to make a career in sports as well," said Chand.
The national record holder, who will participate in the Khelo India University Games for the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, is extremely happy to see the athletes in India being supported by the Indian government.
"Earlier, the focus was only on cricket, but now athletics is also being promoted. Athletes from rural areas are getting a chance to showcase their talent through the Khelo India Games. They are being provided with facilities as well. There's an SAI campus in every state where the upcoming athletes can train," said Chand.
The sprinter's immediate goal is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The qualification mark for the 100m event at the Tokyo Olympics has been set at 11.15 seconds.
"I haven't qualified for the Olympics yet. I have to attain the qualification mark of 11.15 seconds. I'll get a chance to qualify for the Olympics in competitions, which will be held in February," signed off Chand.