Hima Das: A run from Assam's rice field towards India's first gold medal!
An 18 years old Assam's Hima Das created history by winning the gold medal in the women's 400-meter event at the IAAF World U-20 Championships held at Tampere, Finland, on Thursday. Having clocked her best at 51.13 seconds at the Ratina Stadium, Hima Das became the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal at the World Under-20 Track and Field Championships.
Galina Bukharina, India's foreign coach for the 400m elaborated "Hima is very talented. We have to be patient working with her and not expect overnight results".
The Beginning of the Journey
Hima is the youngest of five children of a rice-growing farmer in Kandhulimari village, about five kilometers from Dhing town of Nowgaon district in central Assam. Being poor and coming from rural India did not serve as a favorable platform to start a career in athletics. But Hima was too focused and motivated that no boundaries could have stopped her.
"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."
To begin with her career, Hima Das desired to be a professional football player and to do so she would indulge herself on the team at her school. The biggest inspiration to become the track athlete came from Shamsul Haque, a Physical Education Trainer at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya who helped her to realize the hidden potential. Mr. Haque began training Hima provided a favorable platform, and this training helped her to start participating in short and middle distance races at the district level.
Hima came out with flying colors winning all the district level competition and it made her more obsessed and focused. In order to expand her horizons, Hima consulted Mr. Nipon Das, an athletics coach from the Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare who promised her to provide training at a professional level. The real deal breaker came when Hima was asked to move out of her hometown to Guwahati, in order to get a much better exposure with the competition in athletics. With a heavy heart, Hima convinced her parents to leave hometown promising to make a name for them.
It's never easy for a child especially a girl from a small village to adjust to the urban civilization. Hima also suffered a minor setback but Mr. Nipon Das served as a constant motivator who helped her cope up with this difficult phase. He treated Hima as her own daughter providing her with all she needs. Constant training and motivation lead Hima to get promoted to the state level athletics and gain the recognition she deserved.
Hima began her new journey excelling at the state and even national level athletics. She performed at various track event categories like 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 4x100 meters sprint races. She was persistent in improving the finishing time and that lead her with constant triumph. She was clocked at 51.32 seconds in Gold Coast this year in April to set an Indian U-20 record. She was successful in creating a buzz in the whole athletics division in India, her zeal and constant hard work paid off when she got selected to compete in the 2018 World U-20 Championships representing India.
"Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle." - Napoleon Hill
World U-20 Championships 2018 - A boon for Hima Das
Finally, the moment arrived to create history for herself and India and Hima Das was very much prepared for it. She went to Finland with just one and the only goal for which she had been preparing her whole life. The whole world was watching and the whole nation was expecting as Hima Das stepped in the field in a blue jersey entitled 1731 DAS.
It was women's 400 meters and Das looked confident as ever as she stood with 7 other competitors. The race began with a slow start for Hima but she kept on pacing and her marvelous acceleration in the final 100 meters left all others behind making her the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal at the World Under-20 Track and Field Championships. She did it! She was successful in making history!
After the race, as she walked down the track tears rolled down her eyes. Those were the tears of Joy as she remembers the entire struggle she faced down the road, all the sleepless nights running alone on the tracks and all the people support in her crusade. She proudly lifts the national flag thanking all the supporters present in the stadium.
"This accomplishment will certainly inspire young athletes in the coming years," tweeted the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The whole nation has recognized an 18-year-old teenager hailing from Dhing village in Assam who succeeded in achieving the impossible. She has set an example for all the teenagers that it does not matter where you come from but it only matters how far you are willing to go.
“A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”