Hima Das Creates History! Bags Gold at IAAF U20 World Championship
18-year-old Indian runner Hima Das created history on Thursday by becoming the first-ever Indian woman to win an athletics gold on the international stage.
Hailing from Assam’s Nagaon distrist, Hima finished on top of the podium in the women’s 400m event at the IAAF World U20 Championship, clocking 51.46 seconds. This though was still not her personal best.
51.13 is her fastest timed 400m run, a feat she accomplished only recently at the National Inter State Championships in Guwahati. It is now also the Indian U20 national record.
Hima had done well in the qualifying rounds, winning Heat 4 with a time of 52.25 seconds. She also emerged on top in the semi-finals, winning her race in 52.10 seconds.
However, in the final, she made a well-paced start which pushed her out of the top four going into the final turn. But once the racers started sprinting to the finish mark, Hima emerged out of the pack and crossed the line with a comfortable lead.
Speaking after her win, Hima said, “I am very happy. I am the first female athlete from India to win a gold in track and field.”
Hima individually thanked all her coaches, also her for their support.
“I want to thank Nabajit Sir and Nipon Sir. I also want to thank my team coaches MS Galina and Basant Singh. Especially big thank you for Athletics Federation of India (AFI).”
This was Hima’s second big-ticket outing of the year after she competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, finishing sixth in the final with a time of 51.32 seconds.
Jisna Matthew, the other Indian in the fray, also showed early promise, winning Heat 5 with a time of 54.32 seconds. But the Kerala girl crashed out in the semi-finals, where she finished fifth with 53.86 seconds.
After Hima’s record-breaking win, India’s President and Sports Minister were quick to congratulate her on Twitter.
Hima Das thanked everyone who congratulated her, through a video on Twitter.