I didn’t fear anything in the final: Hima

Says celebrations can wait as her focus is on the Asian Games

KOLKATA: For Hima Das, Friday was the busiest day of her young life. The night before, the 18-year-old’s stunning performance — the women’s 400m title in the World under-20 championships at Tampere, Finland — had left the nation spellbound and the Assam quartermiler flooded with congratulatory messages.

Celebrations following the medal ceremony had denied her the chance to cool down, making it necessary for her to catch up on some sleep on Friday and recover in time for the relay the following day.

Despite her pressing schedule, she was accommodative and polite in her response.

Hima is yet to be in sync with her newly-acquired stardom. “I am not any star. I don’t like (to hear that). I am a low-key Indian girl from a middle class family of a small village,” a firmly-grounded Hima told The Hindu.

Hima’s unbounded confidence is her biggest strength. It insulates her from nervous moments, which make or break many a sporting career.

“I didn’t fear anything in the final race (in Tampere). It was a very good race. I never get afraid of anything. I only fear time,” said Hima, sharing her moment of glory.

Basant Singh, one the 400m coaches in the National camp, said he was confident of Hima’s good showing at Tampere.

“She is very brave for her age. You can say she is like (Sachin) Tendulkar (at a young age). Since she had done well in a more competitive field in the Commonwealth Games, the competition here was not a big challenge for her. I just hoped that she did not get trapped because of a false start,” said Basant.

The World under-20 crown has now propelled the youngster to do well in elite competitions, including the upcoming Asian Games.

“My focus is on the Asian Games. I can celebrate after that,” said Hima, who will compete in women’s 200m and 400m individual races as well as women’s and mixed 400m relay events in the Asiad in Jakarta.

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