HIMA DAS- Wonder Girl

Youngster creates history by winning gold for India in track and field.

In a historic event, track and field star Hima Das won India’s first ever gold medal in the 400m dash. She registered a staggering 51.46 seconds in the women’s final at IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships held in Finland on Thursday.

Hima, who reached the finals by being the fastest woman in the semis, scripted history and made the millions of people supporting her back home extremely proud. The 18 year old, who hails from a small town called Dhing in the Nagaon district of Assam, was the favourite to win gold as she was the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile event. Her ascent to the top has been nothing short of spectacular as the youngster took up serious running only last year.

Hima started off kicking ball with boys in the mud pit. She caught the eye of a local coach who advised her to take up athletics. Soon, the teenager was spotted by Nipon Das, an athletics coach with the Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare, during a inter-district meet. “She was wearing cheap spikes but she won gold in the 100 and 200. She ran like the wind. I hadn’t seen such a talent in ages,” Nipon says.

The only woman from India who has won a gold medal in track events, she joins the illustrious company of Neeraj Chopra (gold in javelin in 2016), Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002), and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014).

 

“I am very happy to win the gold in the World Junior championships. I want to thank all the Indians back home and also those, who were here cheering me. It was very encouraging to have this kind of support,” she said after the race.

 

Das, who trailed Romania’s Andrea Miklos for the most part of the race, suddenly switched on her turbo boosters (that’s what it looked like) at the final bend to cross the finish line well ahead of everyone and bagged goal. Andrea Miklos got silver at 52.07 seconds and USA’s Taylor Manson settled for bronze with a timing of 52.28.

 

Das had clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish 6th in the Commonwealth Games 400m last in Gold Coast in April.

 

From that point forward, she has worked hard and gone ahead to better her timings. She brought down the Indian U-20 record in 400m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the ongoing National Inter State Championships in Guwahati.

 

Everyone was quick to congratulate Hima Das on her achievement, though not as quick as she ran.

By Abhishek Aggarwal

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