“Here comes Hima Das. The Indian can see the line. She can see history. India’s never won any medal in a track event. But Das has done it here!”
The Indian sports fans who heard these words on commentary would have got goosebumps, guaranteed.
July 12, 2018. It will forever remain a special day in Indian athletics. At the Under-20 IAAF World Championships in Tampere, Finland an Indian track athlete raced her way to gold.
Hima Das went where no other Indian woman had gone before. In fact, Hima Das went where no other Indian track athlete had gone before. India had never won a medal in any track event at the athletics world championships, senior or junior, before that day.
And with one big push towards the finish line, Das changed it all.
Das became only the fourth Indian ever to win a medal at the Under-20 World Championships and only the second to win a gold after Neeraj Chopra won the Javelin Throw at Bydgoszcz in 2016. Indeed, she was the first ever to do so in a track event.
Running in the fourth lane, Das was behind Romania’s Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning burst during the final stretch to cross the finishing line well ahead of the field. She produced her trademark burst at the final 50m. Miklos took the silver in 52.07 while Taylor Manson of USA, who was also setting the early pace, was third in 52.28.
“I am very happy to win the gold in the World Junior championships. I want to thank all the Indians back home and also those, who were here cheering me. It was very encouraging to have this kind of support,” she had said after the race.
Das, from Dhing village in Assam’s Nagaon district, joined the illustrious company of star javelin thrower Chopra, who had won a gold in Poland in the 2016 edition with a world record in that category.
Hima Das 400m progression in 2018 season
|Date||Competition||Race||Placing||Result (in seconds)|
|05 MAR 2018||Patiala Federation Cup, Patiala||H3||1.||53.21|
|06 MAR 2018||Patiala Federation Cup, Patiala||F||1.||51.97|
|09 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast||H5||3.||52.11|
|10 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast||SF1||3.||51.53|
|11 APR 2018||Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast||F||6.||51.32|
|28 JUN 2018||Guwahati Inter State Ch., Guwahati||H1||1.||53.49|
|29 JUN 2018||Guwahati Inter State Ch., Guwahati||F||1.||51.13|
|10 JUL 2018||Tampere IAAF World U20 Championships, Ratina Stadium, Tampere||H4||1.||52.25|
|11 JUL 2018||Tampere IAAF World U20 Championships, Ratina Stadium, Tampere||SF1||1.||52.10|
|12 JUL 2018||Tampere IAAF World U20 Championships, Ratina Stadium, Tampere||F||1.||51.46|
|25 AUG 2018||Jakarta Asian Games, Jakarta||H1||2.||51.00|
|26 AUG 2018||Jakarta Asian Games, Jakarta||F||2.||50.79|
Indeed, 2018 went on to be a special year for Hima Das, as she impressed at the Asian Games too. She sprinted her way to a thoroughly deserved silver medal, breaking the national record twice in two days in Jakarta.
After Das won the 400m gold in the 2018 World U-20 Championships in Finland, the top German brand roped her in as their brand ambassador and later made custom shoes for her that has her name on one side and ‘create history’ on the other.
“When I started running, I ran barefoot. But in my first Nationals, my father brought running shoes with spikes on them. It was just a normal pair of running shoes. I wrote ‘Adidas’ on the shoes with my hand. You never know what fate can do, Adidas is now making shoes with my name,” the 20-year-old had said recently.
Hima Das: career achievements
|U20 World C'ships||400 Metres||51.46||GOLD||Ratina Stadium, Tampere (FIN)||12 JUL 2018|
|Asian Games||4x400 Metres Relay||3:28.72||GOLD||Jakarta (INA)||30 AUG 2018|
|Asian Games||4x400 Metres Relay Mixed||3:15.71||SILVER (Upgraded to GOLD later)||Jakarta (INA)||28 AUG 2018|
|Asian Games||400 Metres||50.79||SILVER||Jakarta (INA)||26 AUG 2018|
|CWG||400 Metres||51.32||Gold Coast (AUS)||11 APR 2018|
|CWG||4x400 Metres Relay||3:33.61||Gold Coast (AUS)||14 APR 2018|
However, a lower back injury has been troubling the star Indian athlete for some time, leading to question marks over her future in the 400m discipline. But, irrespective of what the future holds for the young sprinter, she will always have this golden moment in her career.
You can watch Hima Das’ historic run here: