Hima Das was born 9 January 2000. From her childhood she played football with her classmates as she was very much interested in the game and she wanted to pursue a career in football. By the suggestion from a Physical Education Trainer, Hima Das became an athlete and she started to take part in short and middle distance races. After qualifying for an inter-district competition, she won two gold medals.
The first competition was 100m at New Delhi GP and she won fifth in the race. Later on, she was capable of finishing first at 200m race in Chennai Indian Open. In April-2018 at Gold Coast Commonwealth games she finished sixth at 400m race within 51.32 seconds and when it comes to 4*400 she finished at seventh. No one noticed her achievement but, the competition which is held in June at Inter-State Championship, Guwahati all were shocked as she finished in 51.13 seconds.
“We usually have a fixed routine for our trainings,” says Das. “It is important that we are disciplined throughout because being athletes, those little things impact our performances on the field.”
Hima Das is also the first Indian — men or women — to have won a gold in a track event at the world level. Though Hima’s mother was “initially reluctant” to send Hima to Guwahati for training in 2015, she seems pretty “relaxed” now. Her coach Nipon Das continued to giver her guidance, saying: ‘I keep telling Hima only one thing: Dream big. Because only a few are blessed with God-given talent. My aim was to try and make sure she is part of the relay team for the Asian Games. But she has surpassed all expectations by winning a world championship gold in the individual event.’
But just who exactly is Hima Das? Here’s everything that you need to know about who she is, her career and previous competition at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Hima Das Full Biography and Profile
Kandhulimari is a small village near Dhing town, about 23 km from central Assam’s Nagaon district headquarters. It happens to be one of five Assamese villages on the eastern edge of the mighty Brahmaputra river which continuously erodes land in the area year after year. But the tiny village is also among the most popular places in Assam. Welcome to the land of Hima Das.
Kandhulimari and the 100 families in the village are basking in the glory of Hima’s historic gold medal in Finland. She became the first Indian to win gold at a global track event and life has since not been the same for the teenager – she is a national celebrity. India’s President, prime minister, cricket captain and movie stars heaped praises on the sprinter.
Hima Das, the daughter of a farmer in Assam, who ran to script history in far-away Finland (at the women’s 400m final of the IAAF World U-20 Athletics Championships), has arrived. And what an arrival this has been.
A PROUD VILLAGE
People at Dhing area held banners for their pride. Posters, plastered at the entry point of her village, welcomed other visitors. Everyone was welcome to join in and celebrate a sensational achievement. Several people and some organisations flocked the Das’s single-storeyed brick house to greet Hima’s parents.
Hima Das had dreamed of wearing the blue Indian jersey since her childhood. She had wanted to run like the wind. And she realised her dream to put her village on the international map.
Hima, the oldest of Ranjit Das and Jonali Das’s five children, always wanted to be an all-rounder. She did everything a young man would have struggled to achieve. Hima Das would be nothing if she did not defy the odds. She took on challenges and she won.
A LOVE FOR SPORTS
Hima Das was a born athlete. She loved playing every sport ever since her parents could remember. Her father Ranjit recalls how his daughter would just go out and play any sport that was being played outdoors. “She was not like a girl. She liked to work like a boy. She played every game in school and clinched either gold or silver medal at every event.
“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. When we met the sports teacher at Nagaon stadium, he asked my daughter to go for a run. 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 metres and 200 metres sprints. She also won gold medals in 100 metres and 200 metres race in the district athletics meet held in Sivsagar.”
An emotional Ranjit said Hima’s dream was to wear the Indian jersey so she played football with the local boys (besides participating at athletics meets) in her native village to make that dream come true
“Once, when a women’s football tournament was held in Dhing, Hima wanted to go and play. I met a coach and he agreed to give her a chance. She played for a team in the second half and scored a goal within two to three minutes. After that, teams hired Hima whenever they played a football match in that area and even paid her Rs 400 or Rs 500 per match,” Ranjit said.
HIMA DAS: FOCUSED AND DETERMINED
Hima was serious about pursuing her goals. She realised early that she had to be versatile if she needed to realise her dream of wearing the India blue. Therefore, despite her love for football, she returned to athletics and focused on attaining greatness.
“She realized early that her dream will not be fulfilled if she concentrated exclusively on football. She returned to athletics,” Ranjit said.
And Hima Das delivered results on the track too. She won her first gold medal in a 100m sprint when she was only 13.
A FATHER’S EFFORTS BEARS FRUITS
Ranjit is a sports enthusiast himself. He smiles as he thinks back of the days when he would go out for long runs with Hima. He was his daughter’s first coach and he worked as hard as her.
“She and I would go out for a run every morning. We would wake up at 4 AM everyday and went out for long runs. After two weeks, she woke me UP even earlier to run even longer distances.”
Their village did not have access to a track so they had to run on paddy fields. But that would not deter a future star.
HARD-WORKING FARM GIRL
Hima Das loved running. She loved football and she had big dreams. But she also helped her father out in their rice fields. When she was about 12-years-old, Hima first went to the paddy field to help her father. She also ploughed and flattened paddy field with cow and helped her father with patal (Trichosanthes dioica) cultivation.
“She helped me in the paddy field from her childhood. She ploughed and flattened the fields when I needed to rest. I produced around 3 quintal patal in a week and she carried the produce home on my bicycle. She could not see me struggling.”
A GOOD SAMARITAN
Once, when she was in Class 9, Hima carried a sick classmate to hospital from school – that showed her social responsibility at a very early age. Besides, Hima had taken the lead in the village’s fight against country liquor vends.
Ranjit, Hima’s father, Hima and a few other women had warned the men who were found selling liquor.
“When she came to know about a few members of our village selling country liquor, she took with her a team of women from our village and demolished the vendor’s (liquor shop).”
In time, Hima even formed a social awareness group to help people in need.
‘Mon Jai’ is an Assamese phrase which translates to “I want to” or “I feel like”and it happens to be Hima’s favourite phrase. In 2013, with the support of six local friends, she formed a group with the aim of helping the lesser privileged sections of society. The ‘Mon Jai’ group has been formally active from 2016 and is engaged in a lot of social work.
Bhaskar Jyoti Nath, Hima’s friend and an active member of the ‘Mon Jai’ group, said,” Hima formed the Mon Jai group in 2013 and created a WhatsApp group”
IN ELITE COMPANY
Hima, who is known as the ‘Dhing Express’, became the second Assamese athlete after Bhogeswar Baruah to win an international gold medal. Baruah, an Arjuna awardee, had clinched gold in the men’s 800 metres event at the Bangkok Asian Games in 1966.
Along with the rest of India, Hima’s family also witnessed the memorable moment on the night of July 12. Hima’s housewife mother Jonali Das relives that triumphant moment every now and then, ” I was scared when she crossed 300 metres. I prayed to god to help and give my child courage. Finally, she achieved her goal and we were so happy. Now I want my daughter to win a gold medal in the upcoming Asian Games. We hope she will do it and we prayed for success in the Tokyo Olympics as well.”
HIMA INSPIRES HER SISTER
Hima Das’s sister Rinti now wants to run like her sister. “I want to become an athlete like my sister.”
Meanwhile, youngsters in Dhing have formed a club in honour of Hima Das and they hope to inspire several aspiring athletes. The Assam chief minister announced Hima will be the state’s first sports ambassador and she would be officially felicitated upon her return home. It has been a magical journey and the Hima Das story is just getting started.
Hima Das becomes first Indian woman to win gold in World Jr Athletics Championships
Sprinter Hima made history by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold 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 here.
Hima Das, a pre-tournament favourite, clocked 51.46s to win the gold, which triggered a wild celebration at the Indian camp. This was though not her personal best as she had clocked 51.13 last month in Guwahti at the National Inter State Championships. 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, men or women, to have won a gold in a track event at the world level.
Running in lane number 4, Hima Das was behind Romania’s Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning burst during the final stretch to cross the finishing line well ahead of the field. She produced her trademark burst at the final 50m. Miklos took the silver in 52.07 while Taylor Manson of USA was third in 52.28.
“I am very happy to win the gold in the World Junior championships. I want to thank all the Indians back home and also those, who were here cheering me. It was very encouraging to have this kind of support,” she said after the race.
Hima Das, from Dhing village in Assam’s Nagaon distrist, now joins the illustrious company of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort. In fact, Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition.
The other medal winners are Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014).
Das was the favourite to win gold as she is the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile event. Her rise has been nothing less than meteoric as she took up serious running only last year.
Das had earlier clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Games 400m final in Gold Coast in April. Since then, she has gone onto improving her timings. She lowered the Indian U-20 record in 400m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the recent National Inter State Championships in Guwahati.
Congratulating Hima Das, Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla said
“Very proud of Hima for creating history. It is one of the proudest moments of my life and for Indian athletics. Congratulations to Hima and her coaches, the government and SAI for their support to AFI.”
- Hima Das Biography and Profile