Dubbed ‘India’s golden girl’ and ‘Dhing Express’, Hima Das has been delisted from the register of athletes competing in the IAAF World Championships in Doha, on September 27.
“Unfortunately Hima Das will not be able to compete at the World Championships in Doha due to her back injury,” Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President, Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.
On September 9, the AFI had named seven women, including Hima, for the 4x400m relay and 4x400m mixed relay races at the World Championships but were contemplating over the finality of Hima Das’s participation. The AFI had time until September 16 to send their entries to the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The final list that made it to the IAAF’s desk excluded Hima from the relay team, while it had once named her. She had been enlisted in the hope that her failure to qualify for her individual event wouldn’t come in the way of competing in the relay race.
The development comes in the backdrop of Hima’s historic victory at the IAAF World U20 Junior Championships last year and after a gold-winning spree in Europe, this July.
She was unable to qualify for the Championships after clocking her season’s best at 52.09 seconds when the IAAF World Championships qualifier is fixed at 51.80 seconds, although the ace sprinter claimed her a gold medal at that event.
It is to be noted that the 19-year-old athlete had taken 45 days off from training to concentrate on her 12th board examinations between February and March this year.
Her Russian-born coach, Galina Bukharina and other AFI officials have speculated that her 45-day-long study holiday instigated her back trouble.
“I know she jumped too high in terms of timings according to her age and there were expectations from her. To stay at this height, she needs one or two years of practice again and will have to start from scratch. After all those races and the packed schedule, she decided to sit for her exam. We allowed her a break of six weeks but believe me, six weeks is too much of time in an athlete’s career,” Bukharina told The Indian Express.
In fact, she pulled out of the individual 400m heats midway through the race, citing lower back pain, during the Asian Championships in Doha in April.
Now, in order to fill the vacancy created after Hima Das’s exit from the relay team, Sprinter Dutee Chand has been inducted following an official invitation from the IAAF.