‘We were just star­ing at the TV!’

#MONJAI » Hima Das’s fam­ily re­calls thrilling mo­ments as she won his­toric gold at the World U20 Ath­let­ics meet

Mid Day - - NEWS - PRANJAL BARUAH sports@mid-day.com

GUWA­HATI: At Dhing vil­lage in cen­tral As­sam’s Na­gaon district, some 150 km from here, farmer Ran­jit Das and his wife Jon­ali are the cen­tre of huge at­trac­tion. There’s a surge of me­dia per­sons at this re­mote vil­lage be­cause the cou­ple’s daugh­ter, Hima, made his­tory on Thurs­day night when she be­came the first In­dian woman to win a gold medal at an in­ter­na­tional track event.

Teenager Hima Das, 18, clocked 51.46 sec­onds to run away, quite lit­er­ally, with the top prize in the 400m fi­nal at the IAAF World U-20 Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Tam­pere, Fin­land.

It may have been all joy­ous yes­ter­day, but on Thurs­day night, dad Ran­jit and mom Jon­ali were a bun­dle of nerves as their daugh­ter took to the start­ing line around 10:40pm In­dia time.

In­tense ner­vous­ness

“I was so ner­vous last night that I couldn’t speak to any­one. I was rest­less and be­gan pray­ing,” Jon­ali told mid-day. And it took less than a minute — 51.46 sec­onds to be pre­cise — for God to an­swer her prayers as her daugh­ter stormed her way into the an­nals of In­dian sports his­tory. “We sim­ply kept star­ing at our TV set for many min­utes af­ter the race be­cause we just couldn’t be­lieve what had just hap­pened. Then, we be­gan to have din­ner and just as we fin­ished our food, the phone rang. It was Hima! She thought we might have been sleep­ing as it was well be­yond 11 pm but when she learnt that we were up watch­ing her race, she just burst into tears. On one end of the phone, she was cry­ing and at this end, we were in tears,” re­marked Jon­ali, who now wishes her girl gets all the re­wards she de­serves. “Hima has made our whole coun­try proud and I hope she can now in­spire oth­ers to achieve suc­cess by over­com­ing any trou­bles in life,” added Jon­ali. Ran­jit, a farmer here, was happy to see his daugh­ter on TV yes­ter­day proudly flaunt­ing the tra­di­tional As­samese ‘gamosa’, a local hand­wo­ven towel, a sym­bol of the state’s cul­tural her­itage. “I’m glad be­cause now the whole world will know not only about Hima but also about out lit­tle town of Dhing and most im­por­tantly our beau­ti­ful state of As­sam,” added the proud fa­ther.

Proud sis­ter

For Hima’s younger sis­ter, Rinti, a Class X stu­dent, her didi [sis­ter] is now her big­gest sport­ing hero. “I also want to make my coun­try proud by be­com­ing a top sportsper­son like Hima,” says Rinti.

Hima has two more sib­lings — twins Barasha and Bas­anta, who are the youngest in the fam­ily. Just like Hima says, “Mon jai”, which means “I wish” in As­samese, her mother also cheered for her girl in a loud voice, yelling, “Mon jai [I wish] she cre­ates his­tory at the 2020 Olympics now.”

‘She thought we might have been sleep­ing as it was well be­yond 11pm but when she learnt that we were up watch­ing her race, she just burst into tears’ Hima’s mom Jon­ali

PIC/PTI

Hima Das cel­e­brates her vic­tory in Tam­pere, Fin­land.

PIC/GETTY IMAGES

HIMA ON TWIT­TER: I PROM­ISE TO DE­LIVER MORE

‘Thank so much for your love and sup­port. I am happy that I could bring gold for my coun­try and I will try my level best to bring more medals and to do more achieve­ments for my coun­try in the com­ing days. Keep sup­port­ing #proud­mo­ment #monjai #love­my­coun­try’ In­dia’s Hima Das on her way to win­ning gold in the 400m fi­nal at the IAAF U-20 World C’ships in Tam­pere, Fin­land on Thurs­day.

Hima’s par­ents Jon­ali and Ran­jit

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