Eighteen-year-old sprinter from Assam, Hima Das, scripted history on Thursday by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold 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 in Tampere, Finland. Das clocked 51.46s to win the gold, leading to wild celebrations in the Indian camp.
Even though it wasn’t her personal best as she had clocked 51.13 last month in Guwahati at the National Inter-State Championships, it was enough to put her in the elite club of Indian athletes who have won medals at the World U20 Championships. However, she is 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).
A video of the race shows how Das trailed through the first bend. But, the teenager showed an incredible burst of speed in the final bend to go on and win the race. Here’s a video of the incredible race released by the Athletics Federation of India:
After the race, Das said she was very proud and thanked everyone who contributed to her victory. “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 said after the race.
The other medal winners in track from India are – Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014).
Congratulating Das, Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla said, “Very proud of Hima for creating history. It is one of the proudest moments of my life and for Indian athletics. Congratulations to Hima and her coaches, the government and SAI for their support to AFI.”