Assam’s Hima Das creates history by winning world title in athletics, earns plaudits from Bollywood stars


India’s Hima Das on Thursday created history in Finland when she won the gold medal in the women’s 400 metre event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.

Hima clocked a time of 51.46 seconds in the final at the Ratina Stadium to become the first Indian athlete to win gold in a world championship across all age groups.

Andrea Miklos of Romania took silver with a personal best time of 52.07 seconds. Taylor Manson of the US registered 52.28 seconds to finish third, reported IANS. After creating history, an ecstatic Hima went to the Indian contingent and collected the tradition Assamese stole and the Indian national flag before taking the lap of honour.

Before leaving for the competition, the athlete from Assam had told ESPN website, “What’s there to be nervous about? I like running. I’ve told myself just one thing -‘Go and have fun'”

Congratulations have been pouring in for the young Indian sprinter. Actor director Farhan Akhtar, who played the role of Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, wrote, “Congratulations #HimaDas.. 400 meter winner in world Under-20 championships.. proud moment. It’s amazing that it coincides with the 5 year anniversary of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag & Milkha-ji’s biggest dream was to witness an Indian athlete win Gold in track & field.”

Actor Akshay Kumar, whose next film Gold is based India’s Gold-medal winning performance at 1948 Olympics, wrote, “Historic! Congratulations Hima Das for winning India’s first Gold at a global track event in Under – 20 World Athletics. Nicely done.”

Hima had done well in the earlier rounds as well, winning Heat 4 with a time of 52.25 seconds. She emerged on top in the semi-finals as well, winning her race in 52.10 seconds.

Jisna Matthew, the other Indian in the fray, also showed early promise, winning Heat 5 with a time of 54.32 seconds. But the Kerala girl crashed out in the semi-finals, where she finished fifth with 53.86 seconds.