Hima Das scripted history for India on Thursday after putting in a gold medal-winning performance at the U20 World Athletics. The 18-year-old clocked 51.46seconds in the final of the 400m event to bag the top position in Tampere, Finland. Taking home the gold medal, she became the first Indian to win a gold medal in a track event at the U-20 Worlds. Andrea Miklos of Romania came second with a timing of 52.07 to claim silver while USA’s Taylor Manson took home bronze after a time of 52.52 seconds.
The race wasn’t the best of Hima’s performance. She started slowly off the blocks and was trailing on the home stretch before she woke up in the final 80m stretch. With the finish line in sight, Hima Das blazed past her opponents to all of a sudden come first from fourth. Having raced her first race just 18 months, her performance at the U-20s was a magnificent one, well worthy of taking home the gold medal. Her performances before the final spoke of a podium finish at the main event too. After all she had clocked the fastest time in the heats and semi-final. After her entry into the final, she had managed to a short comment. “I am enjoying,” she said.
“Her race begins in the final 80 meters. Her progress just shows how much potential she has. It has been just two years since she first wore spikes,” says her coach Nipon Das. “My aim was to try and make sure she is part of the relay team for the Asian Games. But she has surpassed all expectations by winning world championship gold in the individual event.”
— IAAF (@iaaforg) July 12, 2018
The daughter of a rice farmer from Dhing village in Nagaon district, she had started off by playing football before shifting to athletics. Her win at the U20s means she joined a prestigious list of athletes in the progress who have won medals at the World U20 Championships. And Hima Das is also the only runner in a hall of fame that has throwers like Seema Punia (bronze, discus), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze, discus) and Neeraj Chopra (gold, javelin).