Hima Das: All you need to know about the Indian athlete who created history

New Delhi: In a historical landmark for Indian track events, 18-year-old Hima Das on Thursday became the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal at the world level as she clinched the top spot in the women’s 400m final race in the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships on Friday.

Born in a poor family in the Nagaon district of Assam, sprinter Hima Das has enjoyed a meteoric rise. She had a slow start and was trailing at least three other runners going into the final stretch. But the teenager produced a powerful sprint in the last 100 metres to win by a comfortable margin.

From Assam’s rice fields to becoming India’s first world gold medallist on track. Here are 7 facts you need to know about the Indian athlete who created history:

  1. Hima Das is the daughter of a farmer and has grown up on the rice fields of Assam
  2. The 18-year-old started participating in the competitive race only 18-months back.
  3. She was interested in sports since childhood as she regularly played football with local boys in the mud pits next to the rice fields but then took up running after a local coach advised her to do so.
  4. Hima Das’s coach Nipon Das spotted her during an inter-district meet. “She was wearing cheap spikes, but she won gold in the 100 metre and 200 meters. She ran like the wind. I hadn’t seen such a talent in ages,” Nipon said. He shifted her 140kms away from her village to Guwahati, in order to train at the Sarusajai Sports Complex.
  5. Her parents were initially reluctant to let her go but later they agreed.
  6. In the Commonwealth Games held in April, Das clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth.
  7. Das also competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in both the 400 metres and the 4×400 metres relay. In the 400m race, Das qualified for the final where she finished sixth with a time of 51.32 seconds, 1.17 seconds behind gold medalist Amantle Montsho from Botswana. In the 4×400 metres relay, she was part of the Indian team that competed in the final where they finished seventh clocking a time of three minutes and 33 seconds.