NEW DELHI, May 20: The lone athlete to start outdoor training after relaxation in lockdown guidelines, sprinter Dutee Chand only has the �eerie silence� of the stands for company as she tries �to wake� her body up at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The 24-year-old Dutee began outdoor training on Monday after the Odisha government gave permission as per relaxed guidelines for COVID-19 lockdown�s fourth phase, stepping out for the first time on a synthetic track in two months.
She was in Patiala to take part in the season-opening Indian Grand Prix on March 20 but the event got cancelled due to the pandemic and since then Dutee has been confined to her room at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, though she was allowed to use the gym there.
�After two months, I am training outdoors and it is a very nice feeling to experience the air while running on the track. For a track athlete, there is no better feeling than this. At the same time I am also experiencing an unusual feeling,� Dutee told PTI.
�Normally, there are a lot of trainees at the hostels inside the Kalinga Stadium complex but all of them have left for home due to this pandemic. So, I am the only one training at such a big stadium. It is unusual, to experience this eerie silence,� said the Asian Games silver-medallist in 100m and 200m.
Another top athlete from the state, sprinter Amiya Kumar Mallick also trains at the stadium but only after Dutee ends her daily stint. This has been done to avoid simultaneous training of two athletes.
�I start training at 6 am and wind up at 8 am. He comes just before 8 am. So, we hardly train together. In the evening, I do another one hour training from 7 pm,� said the 100m national record holder.
The reigning World University Games champion said as of now she is loosening up the muscles which were tightened by the confinement of the two months. She said it will take some time to start full running on the 100m track. � PTI