In a historical landmark for Indian track events, Hima Das on Thursday became the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal 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.
Hailing from Dhing village in Assam’s Nagaon distrist, 18-year old Hima was expected to win gold at the tournament, having been the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile event. She clocked 51.46s to win the historic gold for India. However, this has not been her personal best so far.
Hima, who trained in her father’s rice fields in Dhing Village, scripted a journey to the top which is nothing less than spectacular, considering she took up serious racing only last year. The teenager had earlier clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Games 400m final in Gold Coast this year in April.
Not only has she improved her timings since then, she has also lowered the Indian U-20 record in 400m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the recent National Inter State Championships in Guwahati.
No woman before Das has won a gold medal in a World Championship at any level, be it youth, junior or senior. She is also the first Indian to have won a gold in a track event at the world level.
With the feat, she has now joined javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort. She has also become the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition.