Just 18 months in the wake of running her first competitive race an inter-district meet in Sivasagar, Assam, 18-year-old Hima Das has made sports history. She was a daughter of a rich farmer from a village named Dhing in Nagaon region. She got India its first since forever track gold at a global occasion by winning the 400 meter last at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland
Tense on the beginning block, Hima began moderate and trailed on the final lap, yet her bursting keep running in the last 80m, where she overwhelmed three competitors, saw her timing 51.46 seconds.
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 the top club of Indian competitors who have won awards at the World U20 Championships. However, she is the main sprinter in a corridor of notoriety that has hurlers like Seema Punia (bronze, plate), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze, disk) and Neeraj Chopra (gold, lance).
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Hima began off with football, kicking the ball with young men in the mud pits by the rice fields. She was then exhorted by a nearby mentor to take up games.
Hima was spotted by Nipon, a games mentor with the Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare, amid a between area meet.
Nipon stated, “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.”
The mentor requested Hima to move to Guwahati which was 140 km from her town. He persuaded her that she had a future in sports. Her folks, Ronjit Das and Jomali, were at first hesitant to let the youngest of six children leave. In any case, with Nipon not prepared to hear a no, they yielded.
Nipon made arrangements for Hima’s accommodation. He booked a rented place near Sarusajai Sports Complex. He eventually convinced officials to induct her into the state academy, which specialized in boxing and football.
Nipon says, “There was no separate wing for athletics but the officials were open to Hima being part of the academy after seeing her performances. Assam is not known to produce runners.”
He lastly said, “I keep telling Hima only one thing: Dream big. Because only a few are blessed with God-given talent. My aim was to try and make sure she is part of the relay team for the Asian Games. But she has surpassed all expectations by winning a world championship gold in the individual event.”