Hima Das stormed to the 400 metres title at the ongoing Under-20 IAAF World Championships being held at the Ratina Stadium in Tampere, Finland on Thursday.
Das clocked a 51.46 seconds in the final, a shade below her seasonal and personal best of 51.13 seconds. The 18-year-old Assamese sprinter started conservatively as her rivals opted for the early burst in the final.
Going into the final stretch, Hima produced a trademark surge to get the better of Andrea Miklos of Romania in second place, who finished with a time of 52.07 seconds. Taylor Madson of the United States came third with a time of 52.28 seconds.
The sprinter from Assam’s Dhing village was the favourite going into the final, as she qualified first in the semi-finals in 52.10 seconds. Hima had first shown glimpses of her ability at the Federation Cup in March, where she ran 51.97 seconds to seal a place at the Commonwealth Games.
At Gold Coast, she qualified for the final and finished fifth with a personal best of 51.32 seconds.
With this gold, Hima 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.
Watch the race here:
Speaking to IAAF after the win, Das said, “I’m very proud to hold the Indian flag on my shoulders, I’d like to thank India and my team leader and my coach. My biggest strength is the last 100m. Next for me will be the Asian Games but my big dream is to compete in the Olympics one day.”