Hima Das writes history, wins India’s first track medal at IAAF World U20 Championship

Hima Das

It has been a good week for Indian athletics, with our athletes clinching medals left and right at various tournaments across the world. The latest athlete who has done her country extremely proud is young Hima Das, who has just won India’s first ever track gold at the IAAF World U20 Championship happening in Tampere, Finland.

Hima Das, who is just 18 years old, hails from a small district called Nagaon in Assam and comes from a very modest family. The youngest among five children of a farmer, her rise to glory at such a young age is indeed unparalleled and prodigious.

The event in which she struck gold was the women’s 400m dash, which she completed in an impressive 51.46 seconds, beating runners up Andrea Miklos of Romania and Taylor Manson of the USA by a considerable margin, both of whom finished a second later. After starting a bit slow, she gained incredible pace in the last 80 meters and overtook three people to bag the gold medal.

 

Several sporting celebrities like Rohit Sharma and Sunil Chhetri also took to Twitter to congratulate this win at the IAAF World U20 Championship, which has put Hima Das’ name alongside only a select few who have won medals at World U20 Championships, consisting Seema Punia (bronze, discus), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze, discus) and Neeraj Chopra (gold, javelin).

This extraordinary feat comes just over 18 months from competing in her very first race, which was an inter-district meet in Sivagar, Assam. Initially interested in playing as a striker in football, Hima shifted to athletics when her coach saw her immense pace and advised her to shift. With this also came a shift to Guwahati, which is 140 kms from her village. Her parents were initially reluctant, but gave in eventually after the coach insisted that she had serious talent.  After that, it was an upward curve to glory, a trajectory that will soon make Hima Das one of the best sprinters in the world.

 

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