NAPLES, July 10, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Dutee Chand of India celebrates her victory after the Women's 100m Final at the 30th Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy, July 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, July 1 : Ace sprinter Dutee Chand urged people to show courage in the face of societal taboo and love anyone regardless of their caste, gender or religion. Since coming out as India's first gay athlete last year, Dutee has been outspoken in her support for the LGBTQ+ community.

"One may fall in love anytime and with anyone. One does not decide based on caste, religion or gender," said the 24-year-old in a video conversation with U.S. Consul General in Hyderabad, Joel Reifman.

Dutee has faced significant opposition from within her own family for her relationship and she says that people have called her by many names since but none of it matters to her.

"My partner supported me every time and I have chosen her for my life. People may look at us differently or call us by any name like gay, lesbian etc," she said.

"That does not matter so far as we get to spend our lives with each other. For all who are in love but afraid of the world, you must show courage because the world has always taken time to accept all good things. So please, do not be afraid because it is your life and your happiness." Earlier, the athlete spoke about the one-year postponement of the Olympics and said she had mixed feeling about Tokyo Olympics being postponed to 2021. She revealed she suffered a big financial hit. "When the Olympics got postponed I felt sad as I had prepared really hard for it. Financially also I took a hit as I had invested around Rs30 lakhs on my training from October to February," Dutee said.

"I had plans to go Germany to prepare for the Olympics - three months training and then the competition. But because of coronavirus I had to cancel all such plans. I will have to start my training from scratch now."

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