Indian sprinter Hima Das scripted history on July 12, 2018 by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to win a gold medal in the women's 400m final race at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships, held in Tampere, Finland.
The 18-year-old, a pre-tournament favourite, finished the race in 51.46s. However, this wasn’t her personal best, as she had clocked 51.13 last month in Guwahati at the National Inter-State Championships.
• With the win, Das has become the first Indian woman, be it junior or senior, to win a gold medal at any level in a World Championship.
• She is also the first Indian, man or woman, to have won a gold in a track event at the world level.
• In fact, Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition.
• She now joins Indian star Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold medal in the 2016 edition of the IAAF World U20 Championships, which were held in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
• Other Indian medal winners at the World Junior Championships incude Seema Punia, who won bronze in discus throw in 2002 and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon, who also won a bronze medal in discus throw in 2014.
About Hima Das
• The sprinter belongs to Dhing village in Assam's Nagaon distrist. She took up serious running only in 2017.
• 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 2018.
• Since then, she has improved her timings. She bettered her previous performance and lowered India’s U-20 record in 400m by clocking 51.13 seconds in the recent National Inter-State Championships in Guwahati.
• In the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships, Das was the favourite to win the gold, as she was the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile event.
• Running in lane number 4, Das was behind Romania’s Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning show during the final 50m stretch to cross the finishing line well ahead of others to clinch the gold.
• While Miklos settled for silver with 52.07 seconds, USA’s Taylor Manson came third with 52.28 seconds.