By Ayush Jain (LMB)
Before the 13th of July, Hima Das was a nobody to most of India. Most of us wouldn’t have even heard of her. But something really eventful happened on that day, which has made the Indian public hail her as the “Goddess of Speed”. Hima Das became the 1st Indian woman in history to win a gold medal at a global track event by finishing first in the 400 m event with a timing of 51.46 seconds. Since then, the news has spread like wildfire and accolades have poured in from all over.
Hima Das hails from Kandhulimari village in Dhing, a town some 150 km from Guwahati, Assam. From the early age of 11, she used to chop firewood and wake up at 4 am every morning for a jog in the rice fields. Her father was her first guru and it was only later that her local PE instructor, Shyamasul Haque noticed her talent and brought her to Gowri Shankar Roy at the Nagaon Sports Association. Later, she qualified for an inter-district competition and won two gold medals at the sports meet.
She got noticed by the state coaches, Nipon Das and Nabajit Malakar when she was practicing for the Interstate Athletics Championship in 2017 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Guwahati. They describe her as free-spirited and motivated with a very strong willpower, someone who is punctual and disciplined and is very clear about her goals in life. She has also been very hardworking and focused on her practice, and her strength stems from her fearlessness and the fact that she is psychologically very strong.
As usually happens in such stories, Hima has risen through the ranks after many struggles in her life. She barely had any money for training and her diet. Her coaches spent out of their pockets to support her.
Thereafter, it has been a steady rise for Hima — to the national camp in Patiala, the Asian Youth Championship in Bangkok, the World Youth Championship in Nairobi, and other meets.
Hima Das, is one of the dazzling stars of Indian athletics and we hope she only goes from strength to strength from here on and may even gun for Olympic glory some day.