Ranjit Das is a busy man as he has been dealing with a constant stream of visitors and reporters asking after his daughter Hima Das, the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a global event.
“Hungama ho gaya hai (It has been a sensation)… She has made the country proud,” Ranjit, a farmer in the small Kandulmari village in Nagaon district of Assam, said.
The 18-year-old Hima created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in the 400m final race on the third day of competitions in Tampere, Finland on Thursday.
“I always believed she would win it. She called me from Finland last night informing me of her victory,” the proud father said of his eldest daughter.
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Hima’s aunt Parvati Bharati said she was fond of sports even as a child.
“She would run, play football, even Kabaddi. She also loved to work in the farm and drive around in the tractor,” Bharati said.
Ranjit said Hima went to the public high school in Dhing and then to the Dhing College but had to drop out because of her busy schedule.
“She has visited us only twice in the last two years,” he added.
Her coach Nipun Das said he met Hima in 2016 when she came to Guwahati to attend a camp organised by the state government. He said he pushed her to come to the state capital to train.
READ | Hima Das scripts history, wins gold in World U-20 Athletics Championships
“I recognised that she is a great athlete the first time I met her … There has been no looking back since,” Nipun said.
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.