Hima Das, who won five gold medals in 20 days at various European meets which lacked competitive edge, hasn’t really made heads turn with her timing in the 400m event and is yet to qualify for the World Championship to be held in Doha, Qatar in September.
The Under-20 world champion’s season best in the quartermile event is 52.09, clocked in her only 400m race in those five events in the Czech Republic. However, it was well short of the world championship qualifying standard of 51.80 seconds.
According to deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair, Das’ decision to take a 45-day break for exams in February-March and not train at all during that period is hurting her chances now.
“She was away for 45 days and she broke her training and did not do anything. Back pain was not a big issue. She could not train during this period because of her exams. This was in February and March and that has set her back. Otherwise she could have been in the same stage what she was last year,” he was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
Even India’s foreign coach Galina Bukharina had expressed concern over taking such a long break in the past.
Since her return from the break, Das first pulled out of the 400m heats at the Asian Championship due to back pain but then competed 4x400m relay squad at the World Relay meet in Japan where the Indian team finished 17th among 21 competitors.
Das, who became India’s first world U-20 gold medallist with a timing of 51.46s and now holds the national record of 50.79s set at the Asian Games last year, has till September 6 to qualify for the World Championship and is likely to participate in two or three more events in Europe.
“She will run two or three competitions more. She has time till September 6. We don’t know exactly what level the competitions will be, but let us see. Hima still has time to qualify for the individual 400 metres. Yet, if she can’t she will be part of the relay team. The Indian men, women and mixed 4×400m relay teams as on date have qualified for the World Championships,” Nair added.