Winning a gold in the 400m race of the Federation Cup, he had clocked 51.97 seconds under the 52-second qualifying standard set by the Athletics Federation of India for selection to the Commonwealth Games squad.
“I never knew anyone who had her raw speed. I just gave her basic training and she kept improving” told Nipon Das, Hima’s coach to media.
The very fact that she now is going as India’s top hope on the track in the marquee quarter-mile event is truly a remarkable journey.
Hima, daughter of Jomali and Ronjit Das, a marginal farmer and also the youngest daughter of five siblings. Belonging from a small village of Assam, it was very difficult for her father to afford and to nurture her sporting career. With no basic amenities, Hima practiced playing football on a muddy field in school located in her village.
“I played for local clubs as a striker and I thought maybe one day I would play for India,” she told the media.
It was only in 2016 when her PE teacher suggested that a football career would be hard and she should instead try out an individual event.
After a few months of training on the muddy turf on which the rest of the school children played football, Das would compete at the state championships in Guwahati. She took part in the 100m, not least because she had trained in none of the tactics required for the longer distances, and finished with a bronze.
At the school nationals in February, Hima won a bronze in the 100m and a silver in the 200m. That saw her qualify for the Youth (U-18) Nationals in Hyderabad, where she won the same medals. Her timing of 24.85seconds in the 200m event saw her qualify for the Asian Youth Championships in Bangkok in May. There she improved her timing to 24.52 seconds. Hima only finished seventh in Bangkok. She returned with two things: a streak of blonde dyed hair that she maintains to this day.
“She always wanted to stand out of the crowd,” says coach Malakar and a qualification for the World Youth Championships in Nairobi. Unexpectedly, she nearly became the first Indian to medal in a track event, eventually finishing fifth with a time of 24.31 seconds.
Hima’s time is currently the sixth fastest amongst Commonwealth athletes this year. An individual medal is a difficult prospect. At least for most athletes. Those who know the girl aren’t so sure. Her coaches credit this to her mental toughness.
Hima with her passion to become an athlete successfully fore-fronted her the right path that she never expected despite many hurdles in her life, she heaved herself among the top.
Source – G-Plus
Featured image (courtesy): G-Plus/Telegraph