Hima Das is an 18-year-old athlete from India who made history for being the country’s first gold medallist at a global track event.
The young sprinter, who hails from the state of Assam, claimed her historic win in Finland via the 400-meter final at Tampere’s World U20 Championships on Thursday. She captured the gold medal by clocking 51.46 seconds in the final at the Ratina Stadium.
Das’ victory earns her a spot in the elite club of Indian athletes who have won medals at the World U20 Championships, which includes Seema Punia (Bronze, Discus throw), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Bronze, Discus throw) and Neeraj Chopra (Gold, Javelin throw).
“Bringing a medal for the country is the biggest achievement and that is why I am very happy. I am very proud to give this gift to the people of India,” Das was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“I wanted the Indian national anthem to be played and making that happen made me cry with joy,” she said.
Das also thanked her parents and coaches for support, and the people of India for their blessings. She noted that her victory is only the beginning and that she would continue to strive for excellence.
Jubilant netizens, including India’s biggest celebrities, immediately took to Twitter to shower the athlete with praise and congratulatory messages.
T 2865 – CONGRATULATIONS .. #HimaDas , the first Indian Women to win a GOLD in World Athletic track event EVER ! INDIA is proud of you .. you have given us reason to hold up our heads HIGH ! JAI HIND !! 🇮🇳🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/Q0YVCx6FSf
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) July 12, 2018
Woke up and felt a genuine wave of Pride Love & inspiration. What an amazing athlete you are…#HimaDas Kya Baat hai! pic.twitter.com/gcDnyXxwRj
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) July 13, 2018
#HimaDas, congratulations on creating history by winning India its first ever track gold at the World U20 Championships. You are an inspiration to every aspiring athlete out there. It’s a HUGE achievement and you have made us all proud 🙏🙏🙏
— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) July 13, 2018
Historic! Congratulations Hima Das for winning India’s first Gold at a global track event in Under – 20 World Athletics. Nicely done 👏👏
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) July 12, 2018
Congratulations #HimaDas.. 400 meter winner in world Under-20 championships.. proud moment.
It’s amazing that it coincides with the 5 year anniversary of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag & Milkha-ji’s biggest dream was to witness an Indian athlete win Gold in track & field. 😊👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) July 12, 2018
Yet another brilliant performance from India’s daughter..Kudos to India’s Hima Das who made history by becoming our first track athlete to become a world champion at any level after winning the women’s 400m at the U-20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland on Thursday#HimaDas
— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) July 13, 2018
Proud proud proud!!! What an incredible day #HimaDas #India https://t.co/SXa4Y8sdAA
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) July 12, 2018
Congratulations, #HimaDas!! You’ve made history in 51.46 seconds… The whole nation applauds your performance at the U20 World Athletics Championships! An extremely proud moment for all of us…👏🇮🇳
— Arjun Kapoor (@arjunk26) July 13, 2018
Congratulations #HimaDas for this stupendous feat. The toughest race 400 meters. The first Indian athlete to win a title in any track event. Huge day for Indian athletics. #girlpower #proud #history
— arjun rampal (@rampalarjun) July 12, 2018
Meanwhile, a tweet from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) sparked a bit of a controversy for commenting on the athlete’s “English skills.”
#HimaDas speking to media after her SF win at #iaaftampere2018 @iaaforg Not so fluent in English but she gave her best there too. So proud of u #HimaDas Keep rocking & yeah,try ur best in final! @ioaindia @IndianOlympians @TejaswinShankar @PTI_News @StarSportsIndia @hotstartweets pic.twitter.com/N3PdEamJen
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) July 12, 2018