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Dutee Chand, India’s national record holder in 100m, has revealed that she has found her life-partner. The Asian Games silver medallist said that she is in a same-sex relationship with a girl from her hometown in Odisha. Chand belongs to Chaka Gopalpur village and her parents are weavers in Jajpur district.

“I have found someone who is my soulmate,” Chand was quoted. “I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with.”

“I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship. It is an individual person’s choice. Currently, my focus is on the World Championships and the Olympic Games but in the future I would like to settle down with her,” she added.

The 23-year-old said that it was after the Supreme Court’s historic decision to decriminalise Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code last year that she got the confidence to speak about her relationship. “The Supreme Court of India has also struck down the old law. I believe nobody has the right to judge me as an athlete because of my decision to be with who I want. It is a personal decision, which should be respected,” Dutee said.

In September last year, the Supreme Court had decriminalised the 125-year-old British era law regarding same-sex relation between consenting adults. India, however, does not recognise LGBT marriages.

In 2015, Chand became the first person to win a case against the International Association of Athletics Federation for its rule on hyperandrogenism, in the Court of Arbitration for Sports. The rule prohibited athletes with high testosterone level to compete in track and field events.

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