India's Hima Das scripted history by winning the gold medal in the women's 400-metre track event at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland on Thursday. The 18-year-old Hima, who hails from Assam, clocked 51.46 seconds to become the first Indian to win a track gold. With this win, Hima has now joined Seema Punia (bronze), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze) and Neeraj Chopra (gold) to win a medal at the Under-20 Athletics Championships. Hima's coach, Nipon Das, in an interview spoke about how he spotted Hima and what encouraged him to bring Hima to the fore.
"Her race begins in the final 80 metres. Her progress just shows how much potential she has. It has been just two years since she first wore spikes," Nipon Das was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
"She was wearing cheap spikes but she won gold in the 100 and 200. She ran like the wind. I hadn't seen such a talent in ages," remarked the 18-year-old's coach.
Running in lane number 4, Hima was behind Romania's Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning burst in the final 80 metres to cross the finishing line well ahead of the other athletes.
"Bringing a medal for the country is the biggest achievement and that is why I am very happy. I am very proud to give this gift to the people of India," Hima told NDTV.
"I wanted the Indian national anthem to be played and making that happen made me cry with joy.
"I want to thank my parents and my coaches, who brought me out of Guwahati. I also want to thank the people of India for their blessings.
"I will try to give my best at the Asian Games. I don't run after medals, I run after time," Hima added.