JUST 18 months after running her first competitive race an inter-district meet in Sivasagar, Assam 18-year-old Hima Das has created athletics history. The daughter of a rice farmer from Dhing village in Nagaon district, she got India its first ever track gold at a global event by winning the 400 metre final at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Tense on the starting block, Hima started slow and trailed on the home stretch, but her blazing run in the final 80m, where she overtook three rivals, saw her clocking 51.46 seconds.
SHE DID IT! SHE HAS WRITTEN HISTORY IN 51.46 SECONDS!! #HimaDas of #India wins FIRST EVER TRACK GOLD MEDAL IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in WOMEN-400m #iaaftampere2018 in #Finland
Well done champion!! #Assam@narendramodi @sebcoe @sarbanandsonwal @Adille1 @Naveen_Odisha pic.twitter.com/pmcjSNfT6Y
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) July 12, 2018
In Guwahati, her coach Nipon Das says he wasn’t worried when Hima wasn’t among the top three at the final curve. “Her race begins in the final 80 metres. Her progress just shows how much potential she has. It has been just two years since she first wore spikes,” says the coach about her ward whose personal best is 51.13 seconds.
With this win, Hima joined an elite club of Indian athletes who have won medals at the World U20 Championships. But she is the only runner in a hall of fame that has throwers like Seema Punia (bronze, discus), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze, discus) and Neeraj Chopra (gold, javelin).
Hima, who trained in her father’s rice fields in Dhing Village, scripted a journey to the top which is nothing less than spectacular, considering she took up serious racing only last year. The teenager had earlier clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Games 400m final in Gold Coast this year in April.
Not only has she improved her timings since then, she has also lowered the Indian U-20 record in 400m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the recent National Inter-State Championships in Guwahati.
No woman before Das has won a gold medal in a World Championship at any level, be it youth, junior or senior. She is also the first Indian to have won a gold in a track event at the world level.
Congratulations #HimaDas.. 400 meter winner in world Under-20 championships.. proud moment.
It’s amazing that it coincides with the 5 year anniversary of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag & Milkha-ji’s biggest dream was to witness an Indian athlete win Gold in track & field. 😊👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) July 12, 2018
“Commonwealth Games? What’s that?”
Hima tried to explain what the competition — the biggest of her career — was, but her mother finally gave up trying to understand.
“Will you be on TV? Then it’s probably a good thing,” she said.
“I never knew anyone who had her raw speed. I just gave her basic training and she just kept improving.”Nipon Das, coach
About hima das
Hima Das (born 9 January 2000 in Nagaon) is an Indian sprinter. She is the first Indian track athlete to win a medal at any global event. Hima Das won a gold medal in women’s 400m at World U-20 Championships 2018 at Tampere, Finland, Clocking a time of 51.46 seconds. She also competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in both the 400 metres and the 4×400 metres relay. In the 400 metres, Das qualified for the final where she finished sixth in a time of 51.32 seconds, 1.17 seconds behind gold medalist Amantle Montsho from Botswana. In the 4×400 metres relay, she was part of an Indian team that competed in the final where they finished seventh in a time of three minutes and 33.61 seconds. Das won the Gold medal in 400 meters at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships, becoming the first Indian to win a World Championships title in any track event.
SHE DOES IT IN STYLE. 51.47 seconds as she powers through in the final straight. What a surge by the Assamese.
Take a bow, #HimaDas!
— The Field (@thefield_in) July 12, 2018