Hima Das will make another attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 at the Indian Grand Prix 4 slated for June 21. Hailing from Assam, the sprinter shot to fame with her title-winning performance in 400m at the World U-20 Championships in Finland in 2018. Since then, she has won multiple international honors including a silver medal at the Asian Games in 2018.
However, Hima Das, who has been dubbed the "next big thing" in Indian athletics, has found herself struggling to make the cut for the Olympics. On Sunday, she will compete in three events - 100m, 200m and a relay event - with the hope of joining the Indian Olympic contingent.
Hima Das will be the favourite in 200m to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
Hima Das will target the 200m and 4x100m relay to win her Tokyo Olympic ticket. The Dhing Express had switched from her usual 400m to 200m in January 2020 due to a back injury.
The switch means she will face a higher-ranked Dutee Chand for the Tokyo Olympic spot in 200m. According to the current rankings, while Hima Das is nowhere close to the qualifying mark in 200m, Chand has a global ranking of 50.
However, Das will be riding on the back of her gold medal win at the Federation Cup held in February this year. She clocked 23.21 seconds to beat Tamil Nadu’s Dhanalakshmi in the 200m event in Patiala, another challenger for the young Assamese runner.
Chand, on the other hand, skipped 200m in the Fed Cup to focus on the 100m event. While Das will also compete in 100m, it is unlikely she will pose a major threat to the Odisha sprinter.
Hima Das still needs to meet the 22.80 qualifying mark to confirm her ticket for the Games. If she fails, she will still have the 4x100m relay to make the cut.
How can Hima Das qualify for Tokyo Olympics through relay events?
For the relays, a maximum of sixteen countries qualify. The top eight teams in each event at the 2019 World Athletic Championships in Doha are guaranteed a spot for the Tokyo Olympics. The remaining eight are selected via the World Athletics Ranking List as of June 29, 2021, and the World Athletics Relay.
It is unlikely that Hima Das will compete in the 4x400m women’s relay, which leaves her with the 4x100m relay event.
However, it will be a tough task. The Indian women’s 4x100m relay team is currently ranked 22nd in the World Athletics rankings. They will hope to improve their timing at the Indian Grand Prix 4 and the inter-state national championship, scheduled for June 25, to qualify for Tokyo.
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But with just 10 days left, Hima Das’ chances of Tokyo Olympic qualification via a 4x100m relay event are minuscule. She will have to give her all in the 200m discipline to participate in her maiden Olympic event.