Why does Hima Das deserve our attention right now?
As followers of Indian sports, we have an unhealthy obsession with cricket. Right now, at the time of writing this article, the post-mortem of India's exit from the World Cup at the semi-final stage is still in full flow. We have angry fans, vociferous fans and fans with strong opinions, however, away from the mainstream, an athlete is aiming to do something unprecedented for the nation.
Yes, it's true that sprinter Hima Das's gold medal-winning run has been covered by mainstream media and gained traction in social media circles, but it has failed to garner the wave of passion that cricket ignites, and that is a cause for concern.
Here's why the 'Dhing Express' deserves her spot in the limelight immediately.
Four in a row
The sprinter has now clinched her fourth gold in a row, the final one coming at the Tabor Athletics meet. Her others gold medals have come in Poznan in Poland, Kutno, also in Poland and then at the Kladno Athletics meet in Czech Republic.
Though these were not elite events, Hima has been in top form and has constantly improved her time with each race, with her victory at Tabor coming with a timing of 23.25 seconds. Hima is a top-runner in the 400m event and is the holder of the current national record in the event.
A star for the future
Time is ripe for India to produce another superstar in the track and field events after steady improvement in various disciplines over the years, a superstar who may actually go all the way. With Hima clinching gold at the IAAF World U20 Championships in 2018, that star might be on the horizon.
Her success in the 400m event in the World U20s meant that an Indian won gold in a track event of this stature, a remarkable feat. She followed it up with a silver in the Asian Games in the same year and gold in the 4x400m relay, proving her success in Finland at the U20 Worlds was no flash in the pan.
More focus needed
Hima is yet to qualify for the World Championships and the 19-year-old needs all the help and inspiration she can get in her quest to become one of the world's premier athletes.
She has also shown her empathetic nature at such a young age by donating her her monthly salary to the cause of flood relief. It is time we showed more care for her journey, as one day, she might become the first Indian to win a gold in track and field at the biggest stage of all the events, the Olympics.