Dutee Chand has been the undisputed Indian queen of the track in the 100m for long. But 22-year old Dhanalakshmi from Tiruchi had other ideas when she landed here for the Federation Cup.
On Tuesday, she snapped Dutee’s winning streak extending back to 2015 with a scorching 11.39-second run to win the title.
It was just a tad slower than her personal best of 11.38 set in the heats the previous day, a time that made people sit up and take note. Tuesday proved it wasn’t a fluke. It was a huge leap from her previous best of 11.48, set at the Tamil Nadu Open Championships in January.
“I was confident before coming here, I had prepared well for this event. I was determined to win. I knew I was competing against Hima Das and Dutee but that was the extra motivation for me. The spotlight is always on them, no one bothers about the others and I was determined to change that,” she told The Hindu after the race.
It wasn’t arrogance but faith in what her coach had told her, to trust her abilities. Training under 31-year old Manikanda Arunmugam — himself a sprinter who still competes in departmental and State meets — at the Police Stadium back home, Dhanalakshmi though prefers the 200m.
“She and Elakkiyadasan (Kannadasan, second in the men’s 100m here) both started coming to the same ground as me 2-3 years ago. It began gradually but for the last one year I have taken a break to train them full-time.
“The only reason is to ensure they do not repeat the mistakes I made and get proper guidance. I am glad it is giving results,” Arumugam said.