Sprinter Dutee Chand remarked that coming out of the closet was better than hiding her personal life from the public. Chand made headlines in May when she made public her relationship with a woman from her village in Odisha.

Her family objected to the relationship and her older sister even threatened to disown her, but Chand was unmoved. “There is no pressure on me at the moment because of my personal life, especially since I have come out of the closet. In fact, I used to feel pressured and scared when I was in hiding,” the 23-year-old told PTI.

She added: “After speaking up [about her relationship], a lot of people have shown support and appreciated my efforts and that really makes me feel good.”

Chand became the first Indian woman track and field athlete to clinch a gold in the World University Games last month by winning the 100m dash in a time of 11.32 seconds.

She is now set to run in the National Inter-State Championships, beginning on Tuesday in Lucknow in a bid to qualify for the World Championships to be held in Doha next month.

“I will take part in the National Inter-State and I can assure you that you will see a lot of improvement in my timing,” said India’s fastest woman.

Chand holds the 100m national record of 11.26 seconds. The World Championships qualifying timing is 11.24 seconds. Recently, she was to run in a couple of races in Europe but could not do so due to some “technical” problems.

She said her aim is to make a mark in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, for which she is yet to qualify. The women’s 100m Olympic qualification standard is 11.15 seconds.

“It is the dream of every athlete to qualify and compete in the Olympics and I am no different. I would definitely like to win medals and laurels for my country and my preparations for it are in full swing,” she said.

She added: “While there is a difference between my best timing and the Olympic qualifying timing at present, I am working really hard to cross that. My training schedule is pretty tough at the moment and I am sure I will definitely qualify for the Olympics this time.”