She has been scorching the track with one record after another but India’s new sprint sensation Hima Das doesn’t want to be left behind in studies either and is juggling between training and board exams these days.
The transformation of Hima, the reigning world junior champion in 400m, into a top quarter-miler has been nothing short of phenomenal considering that she has already run sub 51 sec at only 19 years of age and that too after a dozen competitive races since late 2016.
The sprinter from Assam’s Kandhulimari village in Nagaon district became a star overnight and kept improving her timing through the last year, culminating in a national record time of 50.79 seconds while winning silver in the Asian Games. But, just like any other youngster she realises the need to have educational degrees. She is currently appearing for her class 12 exams under the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council.
“I am looking at some major tournaments in 2019 and I am trying to focus on my training along with taking examination,” Hima told PTI from Guwahati.
Hima’s board exams began on February 12 and will go on till the middle of March. Instead of staying at her native village to appear for the examination, she is shuttling between her home and Guwahati’s Sports Authority of India hostels, which is 120kms away from her examination centre.
“I have made my schedule in such a way that whenever I am getting time from studies, I do my training,” said Hima, the only Indian woman to have won a track and field gold at the world level.
Hima’s next paper is on February 16 and she will come back home from Guwahati on the evening of Friday, her cousin Bijoy Das said. “She came on the evening of February 11, appeared for her first paper the next morning and left home for Guwahati in the afternoon just after the examination is over,” Bijoy said.
“She told us she will come on Friday evening again for her second paper and then again go back to Guwahati for training. Her parents have no objection, they have left it to her what she wants to do. Of course, they want her to have some educational qualification also,” he added.
Hima’s father Ranjit Das has a two bigha plot of land and mother Junali is a housewife. The small piece of land is the only source of income for a family of six. She is the eldest of four siblings, with two younger sisters and one younger brother.
The athletics season starts next month with the Federation Cup National Championships, which will serve as the selection trial for the Asian Championships (April 21-14), at Patiala from March 15 to 18.
Asked how Hima will appear for the papers as well participate in the Nationals, Bijoy said, “Her exams end before the Nationals so it should not be a problem.” Though still young, Hima is already a well-known sportsperson in Assam and she was made the sports ambassador of the state last year, besides being showered with several other honours. She was also conferred with the Arjuna Award by the Indian government last year.