8 things to know about Hima Das - India's golden athlete
It’s in the purest and the rawest that you see signs of a future star.
Hima Das, a teenager from Assam is that pure and raw story that will forever be known as the first ever Indian woman, and, the first ever Indian athlete to win a Gold in any world track event. The girl who made headlines with every race, the girl who got faster with every race, has now made our country proud in a whole new way. And we can only imagine how promising is the future of this 18-year-old inspiring sportswoman.
For the late risers, Hima Das, clocking in a time of 51.46 seconds, ran her way to the top in the 400-metre final at the World U20 Championships held in Tampere, Finland, on Thursday.
Hima Das is one of those real-life stories born out of a mere thought- anybody with zeal to achieve will achieve. Following is a compilation of 8 resounding facts about Hima Das that are bound to leave you awestruck and totally inspired.
#1 Born in the turn of the century in the year 2000 on January 9, Hima Das is a Dhing, Nagaon girl who first thought of representing India as a footballer. A star born in a humble family, Hima Das would play for local clubs as a striker. She put her footballer self to practice in her village school’s muddy turf. It was as recently as in 2016 that her PE coach suggested her to try out an individual event.
#2 Dreams started to take shape in rice fields of Assam. Now, we don’t know for sure if Hima ran in the rice fields of Assam, where her father spent daylight farming, but it’s hard not to visualise this young sprinter invoking a havoc with her speed in the crop fields, isn’t it? Also, she is the youngest of five kids of Jomali and Ranjit Das -- a family that’s always had Hima’s back right from the start.
#3 Until 2 years ago, our now Golden girl didn’t own any sporting gear or any paraphernalia needed for her races. She started wearing a pair of spikes only 2 years ago- Enough of an evidence to monitor just how rapid her race has been from an Assam village to Tampere!
#4 Her improvement in performance has been super fast. She would cover the lengths of the muddy field of her school on which the rest of the children played football, in a speed of light. And within just a few months into her training, she was more than qualified to compete in state championships in Guwahati, where she ran in 100 m race and finished with a bronze!
#5 Her trick to success is trusting completely in her raw strength. She didn’t have the professional training as most other fellow competitors but made it to the finals in the Junior National Championships held in Coimbatore. She improved her track performance by running wildly fast. That’s it!
#6 Post Coimbatore event, she displayed sheer potential. But it’s the medals that do most of the talking and that’s when her coaches stepped up the game of turning her life around. Nabajit Malakar and Nipon Das, the two coaches talked to Hima’s family about letting her stay in Guwahati to start with the training that would make her an athlete to watch out for, on a global scale. Her supportive parents were more than happy to let their daughter power up the wings in her soles, as long as she had a bed to sleep in and three meals to feed on.
#7 It was her Gold performance in Federation Cup that gave her a major confidence boost and a ticket to Commonwealth Games in Gold coast, Australia. She finished first in 400 m race clocking in 51.97 seconds, thereby finishing under 52 seconds target set by Athletics Federation of India to qualify for joining the Commonwealth games squad.
#8 She has set record times that are shorter than her lucky 51.46 seconds that got her Gold at Tampere. She established an Indian U20 record of 51.30 seconds when she finished sixth in the 400 m finals at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She increased her speed and decreased the clocked-in time of her own previous U20 record to 51.13 seconds at National Inter-State Championship in Guwahati.
Take a bow, champion! Here's to winning Gold and to many more records Hima Das has her eye on!