Hima Das today scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships as she clinched to top spot in the women’s 400m final race on the third day of competitions here. The 18-year-old Das, a pre-tournament favourite, clocked 51.46s to win the gold. She now joins the illustrious company of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort.
In fact, Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition. The previous medal winners at the World Junior Championships were Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014). Das was a favourite to win gold as she is the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile event.
Congratulations to our sensational sprint star Hima Das for winning the 400m gold in the World Under-20 Championship. This is India’s first ever track gold in a World Championship. A very proud moment for Assam and India, Hima; now the Olympic podium beckons! #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 12, 2018
Wow! So proud of you Hima Das. Incredible, historic achievement on becoming the first Indian track athlete to win a medal at any global event winning Gold at women’s 400m World U-20 Championships clocking a time of 51.47 seconds. Thank you for the happiness. pic.twitter.com/Cs5wY8sDuM
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) July 12, 2018
Das clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Games 400m final in Gold Coast in April. Since then, she has gone onto improving her timings. She lowered the Indian U-20 record in 400m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the recent National Inter State Championships in Guwahati.