Hima became the first Indian — male or female — to win a track gold at a global level event Image: Twitter
Hima Das's coach Nipon Das recently revealed the 18-year-old prefers to practise with male athletes in order to increase her performance levels. Nipon, an athletics coach with the Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare, is credited with discovering Hima's talent from a remote village in Assam, 140 km from Guwahati. He was instrumental in getting Hima to come down to Guwahati back in 2017 so that she could receive proper training at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium.
Hima, last week, lived up to her coach's faith and shot to glory overnight after winning the gold medal in the 400m event at the World Under-20 Athletics Championship. The 18-year-old didn't only manage to become the first Indian woman to win a medal at the World Junior Championships. but also became the first Indian — male or female — to win a track gold at a global level event.
Nipon, speaking about Hima's achievement to a leading daily, revealed she prefers to train with male athletes to achieve higher levels of competition. "Normally, when a girl starts to train with the boys, they tend to improve their performance level. And Hima was so desperate to improve that she always wanted to run with the boys," he was quoted as saying.
This isn't the first report about Hima competing or even going toe-to-toe boys in sport. In an interview with PTI, Hima's cousin Joy Das had said, "Physically also, she is very strong. She can kick a football like any of us. I told her not to play football with the boys but she did not listen to us," he said. Hima started her sports career playing football in her Kandhulimari village at Nagaon district.
Physically also, she is very strong. She can kick a football like any of us. Joy Das, Hima Das's cousin
Hima's father Ronjit Das, who is a rice farmer by profession, said Hima always had unwavering determination and would run through brick walls to achieve her goals. "She is very stubborn. If she wants to do something she will not listen to anybody but she will do it with aplomb. She is a strong girl and that is why she is coming up to achieve something. I hope she will do something for the country," he said.