CHANDIGARH: The Black Lives Matter campaign has drawn a lot of attention internationally, with many sportspersons in India also lending their support to the cause and many accusing that such discriminations exist in the country. Star sprinter Hima Das, however, differs from those opinions as she feels it is all about embracing each other’s culture in a diverse country like ours.
“It’s all about the mindset and how you carry yourself, the attitude matters a lot. I have never faced such discrimination in any part of the country. In fact, wherever I go I have made friends with my fellow athletes and campers. There are athletes from various corners of the country, and it’s all about the mutual respect towards all communities and races,” Hima told TOI from Patiala on Sunday.
“One should also look at the mirror first and ask if we are treating the others well. The answer lies within,” added the Assam girl.
On this day in 2018, Hima scripted history in Tampere, Finland when she became the first Indian to win a gold medal in 400 meters in the World U-20 Athletics Championship. But the reigning junior world champion is yet to qualify for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and the international season has been suspended till November 30 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hima, however, isn’t too worried about the qualification as she feels she has a lot of time in hand and rushing into things would only hamper her progress, especially after recovering the back injury.
“There is a year still to go for the Olympics, there is still time. Thinking too much about it will only give rise to negative thoughts, I like going with the flow,” she said.
“The athletics season begins December 1 and there is a lot of time next year to qualify for the Olympics, let’s hope the pandemic ends by then,” added Hima, who holds the national record (50.79 seconds) in 400m.
The 20-year-old Hima, who had recently started outdoor training after being locked indoors for more than a couple of months, said she has gradually started easing into her specialised training after a fortnight of fitness drills.
“The weather in Patiala is too hot, it is not easy to restart high intensity training from Day 1, so we are doing it step by step as advised by our coaches. I am doing a bit of speed training but the pace is normal. The idea is not to rush into things as there are no immediate competitions,” she said.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has tentatively fixed September 12 as the start of the domestic season. But with Covid-19 cases on the rise each day, the federation will have to take a call once the date approaches.
“There were a very few cases in Patiala for the last fortnight or so, but in the last two-three days, again the numbers have shot up. It is still a very tricky situation and I am sure the federation will take all those things into consideration before taking a call,” she said.
Hima, who was a part of the gold-winning quartets in the women’s 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay events in the 2018 Asian Games, said she had taken a few lessons on improving her Spoken English during the lockdown break.

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