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Happy Birthday Hima Das: Achievements and Records of Indian Sprinter

This January 9, Indian sprinter Hima Das turns 22. Hima Das’ name became the talk of the town after she ran into the hearts of Indians with a breakthrough gold medal-winning 400m sprint at the IAAF World U20 Championships 2018 in Tampere, Finland.

Hima, who was 18 at the time, was a pre-tournament favourite and lived up to the hype. She won the gold after clocking 51.46 seconds, prompting a frenzied celebration in the Indian camp. Interestingly, this was not even her personal best. She bettered her U20 Championships time by clocking 51.13 at the National Inter-State Championships in Guwahati in December 2020.

As the Dhing Express turns 22, here is a look at the most defining and prestigious achievements of her career.

National Record Holder

She currently holds the Indian national record in 400m of 50.79 seconds, set at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she won the silver medal. Marita Koch of Germany is the world-record holder in 400m sprint (women), clocking 47.60 seconds at the 1985 World Cup meet. Manjeet Kaur held the previous Indian national record of 51.05 seconds.

Seven golds in two months

Winning a gold medal is an incredible accomplishment in itself, but winning seven in a period of two months is extraordinary. Das competed in the European circuit tour and the World Championships in July and August 2019. Her total medal tally from these events was a whopping seven gold medals, five in 200m and two in 400m sprints.

Two golds and a silver at the 2018 Asian Games

At the age of 18, Das competed in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, where she won two golds and a silver medal. Also a 200m sprinter, the Assamese ran in the 400m events during the Asian Games. She broke the individual Indian national record twice, first during the qualification heat and then in the final en route to a silver medal. She also won gold medals – in the mixed 4×400 relay and the women’s 4×400 relay.

Winning 400m gold medal at the 2018 IAAF U20 Championships

Hima Das’ biggest achievement was her gold medal-winning run at the 2018 IAA U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, which placed India back on the athletics map. She soon gained the nickname “Dhing Express” after delivering an awe-inspiring performance and crossing the finish line in 51.46 seconds. As a result, she became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal at a World Championships in any age group.

Winning the Arjuna Award

On September 25, 2018, Hima Das was conferred with the Arjuna Award by the President of India. The Arjuna Award is given to athletes who have made the country proud on the international stage, and is considered one of the nation’s highest honours.

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