8/29/2018 8:01:45 PM

Gender-row athlete Chand fearful over future despite Asian medals

Gender-row athlete Chand fearful over future despite Asian medals

Jakarta, Indonesia: India's Dutee Chand said she is still fearful over her future in athletics as she scooped her second Asian Games silver in the women's 200 metres Wednesday -- four years after missing the last edition in a row over her gender.

Chand, denied gold in both sprint races by Bahrain's Edidiong Odiong, was barred from the 2014 Games over her hyperandrogenism, which causes high testosterone levels and left her undergoing traumatic tests to prove her gender.

The Indian athlete won a court battle for her right to compete with her hormonal imbalance, which also affects South Africa's 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya.

New athletics rules in place from November will bar runners with hyperandrogenism from middle-distance races, Semenya's speciality, but allow sprinters with the same condition.

But Chand, 22, said uncertainty remained. The ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations has been criticised, and could face challenges and amendments.

"My legal team helped me to come back," said Chand. "But nobody could guarantee what will happen in the future. Caster Semenya is still fighting.

"There is always fear but you need to overcome it."

Chand's nagging doubts come despite a triumphant appearance in Jakarta, where she became the first Indian woman since sprint queen PT Usha in 1986 to win medals in both sprint events.

"God has given me a lot of trouble since 2014. I suffered a lot. Nobody could have suffered so much," said Chand.

"But I came back to give two medals to India. It will be a big celebration back home."

Chand led the 200m before Odiong stormed home in 22.96 to become only the fourth woman to achieve the 100m-200m double at a single Asian Games.

In the men's 200m, Japan's Yuki Koike won in a dramatic photo-finish with Taiwan's Yang Chun-han.

The young Japanese athlete, expected to be in the shadow of Rio relay silver medallist and compatriot Shota Iizuka, took gold with a well-timed lean as Yang stumbled over the line. 

Both finished in 20.23 while Iizuka finished sixth.

"Iizuka has so much experience of competing at 200 metres and has had so many great results," said Koike, 23. "I just want to achieve what he has done."

'Everyone calls me Olympic champion' 

Iranian giant Ehsan Hadadi cemented his dominance of the discus throw, thrashing the field with 65.71m for a record fourth consecutive Asian Games win.

Hadadi immediately turned his attention to Tokyo 2020, where he hopes to finally improve upon the Olympic silver he secured at London 2012.

"Now everything is about the future ... I have a silver -- so bad I want a gold. Everyone calls me an Olympic champion, I don't like it!"

In addition to Chand's heroics, Indian athletes bagged two golds. Swapna Barman clung on to her lead in the final stage of the heptathlon -- the 800m -- to finish ahead of China's Wang Qingling.

And Arpinder Singh, who won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, took men's triple jump gold with a leap of 16.77m.

The women's high jump became a duel between two tall, blonde athletes from Uzbekistan, with two-time defending Asian champion Svetlana Radzivil needing a Games record 1.96m to beat Nadiya Dusanova. 

Japan's Seito Yamamoto won the men's pole vault with a Games record 5.70m.

Earlier China's Wang Kaihau took a tight men's 20km walk, pulling ahead of Japan's Toshikazu Yamanishi late to win by six seconds.

In the women's category, China's Yang Jiayu and Qieyang Shijie finished nearly five minutes clear of the pack for gold and silver in a joint Games record -- China's fifth consecutive win in the event.

China pulled clear in the athletics medals tally with 11, ahead of Bahrain on nine and India on five.

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