Sprinter Hima Das wins first ever gold medal in athletics for India at world championships
The 18-year-old picked up the medal after she sprinted in the last 80 metres to overtake three other runners at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland.
India's sprinter from Assam, Hima Das became the first ever Indian to win a gold medal in a track event when she won the 400 metres at the World Athletics Championship on Thursday. The 18-year-old picked up the medal after she sprinted in the last 80 metres to overtake three other runners at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland.
According to several media reports, Hima clocked 51.46 seconds to come first after Andrea Miklos of Romania and USA's Taylor Manson, came second with a timing of 52.07 to claim silver while took home bronze after clocking 52.28 seconds respectively. The sprinter had earlier in April, clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth at the Commonwealth Games 400m final in Gold Coast. The impressive performance was followed by another in Assam at the National Inter-State Championships in Guwahati where she lowered the national record to 51.13 seconds.
Interestingly, the sprinter has been wearing spikes for only two years now and created records at the championships even before the finals. She led the overall time charts in the semifinals as she clocked a time of 52.10 seconds and finished the first round heats in 52.25 seconds, improving her time at every stage of the track event. She joins javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra who won a gold in 2016 at the championships. The only two other medal winners at the world championships are Seema Punia and Navjeet Kaur Dhilllon who won bronze in discus in 2002 and 2014, respectively.
Hima's journey started not too long ago as it was only 18-months back that she ran her first competitive race at an inter-district meet in Sivasagar in her hometown, Assam. She was spotted by a local coach when she was seen busy playing football with boys in the mud. It did not take long for her to be easily spotted by her coach Nipon Das during an inter-district meet, who is with the Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare. After which, he convinced her parents to send her to train with the state academy and even though it was only for boxing and football, he convinced the officials to help him train her and it did not take long for them to see her progress, which is now visible with a win at the championships.