Hima Das in the 400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018. © Getty Images

Sports News

Das magic earns historic track gold for India

Date : 13 Jul 2018

Tampere, Finland, July 12, 2018: With a power-packed finish, Hima Das made history as the first Indian track athlete to become a world champion by winning gold in the women’s 400 metres at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, on Thursday.

Das, an 18-year-old athlete from Assam state, had looked an overwhelming favourite for gold throughout the rounds but, on an evening of surprises, it looked like another one was on the cards midway through the 400m final.

Das went off in conservative fashion, and was no better than fourth as she entered the final turn. But, as she said afterwards, “my biggest strength is the last 100m” – and she blazed home in 51.46 seconds.

Australia’s Ella Connolly, Romania’s Andrea Miklos and USA’s Taylor Manson all appeared in better shape for victory, but Das finishes like few others in the world of one-lap running.

She torched up the home straight and was drawing away at the finish, coming home well clear of Miklos, who grabbed silver with a personal best of 52.07. Manson claimed bronze for USA with a strong run of 52.28, while Connolly was run out of the medals in fourth with 52.82.

“I'm very proud to hold the Indian flag on my shoulders,” said Das, whose personal best at 400m is 51.13 seconds set at Guwahati on June 29. “I'd like to thank India and my team leader and my coach.”

After the success of Indonesia’s Lalu Muhammad Zohri in the men’s 100m earlier in the week, Asia has another up-and-coming track star to follow at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.

Das had finished sixth in the women’s 400m at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in April, and seventh in the 4x400m relay.

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