Last month, an Assam athlete’s name was on everyone’s mouth and that was Hima Das, who became India’s first track and field gold medalist at the IAAF World Championships. Now, Hima will be carrying nation’s hopes for a medal in the upcoming Asian Games which are to be played in Jakarta.
Born in a poor family in Nagaon district of Assam, Hima became a national hero by writing history in Tampere, as she won country’s first gold medal in the woman’s 400-metre event at the IAAF World U20 Championships. She wanted to run like a wind. She always wanted to be an all-rounder and she did everything a young man would have struggled to achieve. She took challenges and she won. There are also reports which claim that she used to be called ‘Dhing Express’ in her village.
Hima was a born athlete and loved playing every sport. She would get upset when she wouldn’t be allowed to play but her mother would be worried that it might affect her studies. She enjoyed helping her father and shared his share of work, not so much the kitchen work. She always loved the work that usually the men of the family would take up. When she went to Dhing Navodaya Vidyalaya, she met a teacher named Samsul Haque and he advised her to meet a sports teacher named Gauri Shankar Roy in Nagaon for a better future. After that, she was selected for the district athletics team to participate in the district meet held at Dhekiajuli where she won gold medals in 100 metre and 200-metre sprints. She also won gold medals in 100 meters at the age of 13 and 200-metre race in the district athletics meet held in Sivsagar. Interestingly, Hima used to play football earlier and had dreams of representing India in the game.
Hima realised early that if she wanted to wear the Indian jersey she had to be versatile. And hence despite her love for football, she returned to athletics and focused on attaining greatness. Hima ‘s achievement is all the more remarkable since she started using spikes only a couple of years ago.