7/13/2018 2:45:49 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
Eighteen-year-old Hima Das has created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships.
The daughter of a rice farmer from Assam, she won the gold in the 400 metres race in Tampere, Finland, on July 12.
Flying well ahead of her competitors to the finish line, she recorded a time of 51.46 seconds. Andrea Miklos of Romania came a distant second, taking the silver with a personal best time of 52.07 seconds, while Taylor Manson of the US finished third, clocking 52.28 seconds.
But the teenaged sensation from Assam who took up running only two years ago has run even faster before.
Hima’s fastest time for 400 m is 51.13 seconds, a feat she accomplished recently at the National Inter-State Championships in Guwahati. It is also the Indian under-20 national record.
“I'm very proud to hold the Indian flag on my shoulders,” Hima said after winning the gold in the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland. “I'd like to thank India and my team leader and my coach.”
This was Hima’s second big race of the year after she competed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Queensland, in Australia in April, finishing sixth in the final with a time of 51.32 seconds.
"Even two years ago, I didn't have any idea what the Commonwealth Games were," Hima told ESPN when it ran a story on her in March.
The youngest of five children of Jomali and Ronjit Das, a marginal rice farmer, she had neither the money not even a proper place to train as an athlete. Instead she played football on a muddy field in her village school. It was only in 2016 that she took up running on the advice of her physical education teacher.
Sent to compete in the Junior National Championships in Coimbatore after taking the bronze for 100 metres at the Assam state championships in Guwahati, Hima fortunately caught the attention of coaches Nabajit Malakar and Nipon Das.
“We asked her parents whether we could take her to train in Guwahati. Her father also agreed quickly. He was happy if we could feed her three times a day,” says Das, who continues coaching her.
“I never knew anyone who had her raw speed," he says. “She does not get overawed by anybody and does not care about her opponents. In every race, her goal is to beat the best with better timing.”
Congratulations poured in after she won the gold in Finland. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, and cricketer Virendra Sehwag were among those who tweeted about her victory.