What's the story?
India has had their bag filled to the brim at the Asian Games athletics by happy clinching medals out of which 7 are gold, 10 are silver and 2 bronze. The wildly successful Indian Women's 4x400m relay team did the nation proud as they lived up to our expectations in Indonesia and brought home a gold medal for the 5th consecutive Asian Games.
The brilliant strategy of having their best runner Hima Das take the opening run gave the Indians the much-needed split time and ensured that the gold medal returned to the country safe and sound. The perpetually jovial and spirited Das showed the traits of a true sportsperson immediately after the win when she jogged over to the Japanese relay team, who had come so close to getting a medal but ended up finishing fifth in the list.
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The doe-eyed athlete from Assam has been a household name for the past week as she tore down one National Record after another. In her 400m Heats, she overthrew Manjeet Kaur's National Record and replaced it with her own of 51.00 seconds. The very next day, Das broke her own one-day-old record and bettered it with a 50.79 seconds finish in the 400m Finals, which gave her a silver at the Games.
The heart of the matter
The Japanese Women's Relay team, comprising Ayaka Kawata, Yume Kitampura, Eri Utsunomiya and Ayano Shiomi, put up a great show and came very close to getting a medal in the relay race. For India, who benefited immensely with the brilliant head start by Hima Das, Poovamma Machettira, Gayakwad, Velluva Koroth kept maintaining the split difference swiftly to ensure the gold came home.
While the Indians finished the relay in a whirlwind 3:28:72, Japan came very close to getting a bronze themselves as they completed in 3:34:14 which is the seasonal best for them.
Das, showing the true traits of a sportsperson at the tender age of 18, went over to the Japanese team and huddled together with them in a group hug. Das, who has always been the incredibly jovial kind, knows how to be humble even though she has two silver and a gold to boast of now. Holding out her hand and showing support this way is what makes the young Das an extraordinary champion.
As much as rivalries are important in the sports arenas, it must be remembered that it's a sport at the end of the day. In a game, somebody has to lose always for another to win.
It's a long cycle of winning and losing that makes sport so beautiful -- be it of any kind. To see Hima Das exhibiting these qualities is indeed heart-warming as it must have been felt by the Japanese relay team as well. No matter how much success she may lap up to at the end of the day, Das has proved once again how humble and wonderful a sportsperson she is!
How big an inspiration is Hima Das for Indian athletes and rising youngsters after her three-medal haul at the Asian Games?
This article was covered by Sportskeeda's correspondent who traveled to the Asian Games as a part of the Tissot Hospitality Program. Tissot is the official timekeeper of the Asian Games!Published 31 Aug 2018, 19:41 IST