Assam teenager Hima Das brings swag to the table
There is no doubt that expectations will now grow, not only from Das, but also from other track and field athletes
Hima Das has already captured the imagination of the Indian sports fan, the IAAF World U-20 Athletics Championships 400m gold in Tampere, Finland coming as an affirmation of her growing stature. For the first time, an Indian athlete went in with many expecting her to dominate the field. Das, 18, has spawned exciting possibilities in Indian sport.
It is always heart-warming to see a new name surface, but when it comes to a sport that 200 nations compete in, it is so much more special. The girl from Dhing village in Nagaon district, coached by Nipon Das, has raised the banner for track athletes by becoming the first Indian to win gold at this level.
There is no doubt that expectations will now grow, not only from Das, but also from other track and field athletes. The teenaged sprinter will be under pressure to dominate the Asian Games. She was uninitiated in having to deal with pressure of expectation and that is one layer that she will have to add soon.
There was a time when swag and the Indian athlete were alien to one another, with stray exceptions. The Assam teenager brings that to the table, her confidence in her lasting power and perhaps her ability to delay the onset of lactic acid during the one-lapper giving her reason and room to showcase style.
It has been a remarkable last few four months for her. From the time she stormed to the fore as a quarter-miler ahead of the Commonwealth Games this year — she clocked a mind-boggling 51.97 seconds in just her second race, the final of the Federation Cup in Patiala — to the World U-20 crown, has been a fascination journey. Since PT Usha, no Indian track star has raised such expectations, but to be the first since the onset of cable and satellite television in the early 1990s, raises her profile manifold.
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