Athletics

I am focusing on 400m: Hima

Going places: Hima Das, named brand ambassador for Adidas in India, seen with the company’s managing director Dave Thomas.  

For someone who was first put on the track for the 400m less than a year ago, Hima Das’ sporting career has changed as fast as the laps she runs.

The former footballer from Dhing and one-time sprinter has decided to concentrate only on 400m for the time being.

“You can only participate in two events, so right now I am focusing on 400m and 4x400m relay,” she said in an interaction with The Hindu on the sidelines of an event to name her as the country’s brand ambassador of adidas.

Simple explanation

For the 18-year old from Assam, however, there is no secret to her success. “I don’t think about being a star or anything, or even changes in life, it is not something that bothers me. I only think of my practice and running as fast as I can,” is her simple explanation.

Since first stunning the crowd at the Federation Cup in March this year — she ran an incredible 51.97 seconds to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, ahead of more seasoned M.R. Poovamma and Nirmala Sheoran in what was her maiden competitive outing in the 400m, Hima has only gone about rewriting record books in Indian athletics.

She became the first Indian woman to win a track gold at the IAAF Junior World Championships in Finland recently, won silver at the Asian Games with a new national record (50.79) and is being spoken of as the one to break the 50-second barrier.

Floored by reception

All of it, though, fades in comparison to the reception she has received back home. “Many people came to see me, touch me, hug me when I went back. I don’t think I have achieved anything great. What I do feel is that, maybe, I have done something good and made people feel good, that’s why they want to meet me. And that makes me do better,” she shrugged.

It is this absence of pride — and yet a confident sense of belonging at the top — that makes her special. When asked about the Arjuna award this year, she admitted it was a surprise. “I didn’t expect to get so soon. I was thinking of getting it in 2019 maybe, so it feels good,” she said.

Up next would be the South Asian Games, Asian Championship and World Championship in a packed 2019 and, having made the world sit up and take notice, Hima would be in the spotlight here on.

But she is unperturbed. “I have the love and blessings of Indians and my family and I have faith in my own hard work and training. That is all I need,” she signs off.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 7:11:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/i-am-focusing-on-400m-hima/article24979205.ece

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