Hima Das lived up to her fast rising sprint star status as she pocketed the gold in women’s 200m race in a meet record-equalling time of 23.10 seconds to book a ticket for the Asian Games, on day two of the 58th National Inter State Senior Athletics Championships today.
Running at lane number 7, the 18-year-old local favourite led the final race from start to the end as she left behind Dutee Chand (23.41) of Odisha by a big gap at the finish line to clock a personal best time. Another Odisha woman Srabani Nanda took the bronze in 23.87.
Dutee also booked an Asian Games berth as the qualifying time in this event is 23.50. She had already clocked 23.46 in one of the heats yesterday.
There was a slight drizzle just before the start of the race but that did not have any effect on Das producing a fast timing and she raised her hand after crossing the finishing line to celebrate her victory.
“I am happy to have run my personal best at my home track. It is special,” said Hima.
Born in Dhing village in Assam’s Nagaon district, Hima took to athletics two years ago only but from then onwards her rise has been meteoric. She has been improving her timings by leaps and bounds in a short time. She ran 23.22 in Poland earlier this month during the training-cum-exposure tour and today she improved upon it.
Asked if she thinks she can break the national record of 22.82 of Saraswati Saha during the Asian Games, she said, “I cannot say that now and everybody will see when I run the race there in the Asian Games.”
Hima, who is the brand ambassador of this meet, will also be competing in the 400m race tomorrow and she had run a personal best of 51.32 in the quartermile event during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
In men’s 200m, Muhammed Anas of Kerala took the gold in 20.98 seconds but the missed the qualifying mark of 20.87. V K Elakkiya Dasan of Tamil Nadu secured the silver in 21.31 while Parveen Kumar (21.43) got the bronze.
Anas, who began running 200m recently, had clocked 20.74 in Poland earlier this month.
“I am not happy with my race. I did not have a good start, I don’t know why. Because of that I could not qualify,” said Anas who will also run in 400m.
In the absence of Tintu Luka, who is currently injured, Komal Chodhary of Haryana took the gold in women’s 800m race, clocking 2 minute and 06.68 seconds, well outside the qualifying mark of 2:03.00. Shipra Sarkar of Bengal took the silver in 2:07.02 while Maharashtra’s Archana Adhav clocked 2:07.22 to take bronze.
Eight athletes have so far breached the Asian Games qualifying mark set by the Athletics Federation of India.
India has been allotted 102 (52 men and 50 women) spots by the organisers of the Asian Games.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that P T Usha has written to the AFI to consider Luka if she meets the qualifying mark at a later date.
“Yes, Usha has written a letter to us in that regard but we are yet to take a decision on that,” a top official of the AFI said.