Dutee Chand was afraid she wasn't going to win a medal at the Asian Games. So afraid that she couldn't even bear to open her eyes and confirm her fears. "In the last half of the race I didn't think I was going to get a medal. So I closed my eyes and ran," she says.
Dutee didn't believe it when officials tried to drape the Indian flag over her shoulders, telling her she had won a silver. "I didn't want to take it. I kept looking at the scoreboard. I didn't believe it until it said so on the screen," she says.
If Dutee hadn't scrunched her eyelids shut, she would have known what everyone at Gelora Bung Karno on Sunday evening did. That nearly everyone running the final of the women's 100m race was behind her when she crossed the finish line in 11.32 seconds. And even gold medallist, Edidong Odiong's torso was only the barest of margins - just .02 seconds - in front at the finish line.
Dutee's start was shaky in her semifinals where she ran an under par 11.43 seconds. "There were many strong competitors so I got confused. Instead of building my speed in the first 30 meters I got up too quickly. I made so many mistakes," she says. That race was an aberration.
There would be no mistake in the final. She trained for this moment over the last four years. "I trained like I had for no other competition. When people were training for four hours each day, my coach Ramesh sir would make sure I trained for six."
Dutee won a medal four years after she was told she would not be going at all. After being told in 2014, that the biological nature of her body meant she couldn't even be an athlete. She fought it and earned the right to compete again.
This was more than a medal. "Badla liya hai, (I have taken my revenge)" she says later.
"I had so much problems in 2014. So many people were saying such bad things about me. But I fought my case and returned and won a medal. People were thinking badly about me but now people are happy that I won a medal for the country," she says.