Why ace athlete Hima Das is refusing to rush

Hima Das, currently in rehab mode, was focusing for the 200m event ahead of the Olympics when the COVID-19 outbreak postponed the Games.

By Subhayan Dutta

Patience is the key for Hima Das as she begins her push towards the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The 400m specialist has returned to outdoor training at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala.

Her comeback to the track comes as a huge relief to the Indian athlete after a long spell where she was severely hampered by a lower back injury.

Hima Das back on track

Hima Das had first suffered the back injury during the 2018 Asian Games, where she won a silver medal in the 400m and gold medals at the 4x400m in mixed and women’s relay events. An aggravation of the problem meant that she pulled out of the 2019 Asian Championships.

The ‘Dhing Express’ returned with a bang following treatment winning five successive gold medals in Europe, only one of which was a 400m event.

However, since then, the longstanding issue continues to trouble her.

For Das, this means gradually stepping up her regimen, being careful not too add too much load too quickly.

“It is in the process, but I am fit to undergo outdoor training and we have been doing that in the last 30 to 40 days,” Hima Das told PTI.

“There are no immediate competitions and so we are neither doing low-level training nor intense. We are just doing medium intensity training.

“It is very hot here and so we do only morning training. So in the evening we have spare time and I do cycling (in the velodrome) and even do cricket-ball bowling,” added the defending 400m junior world champion.

The 20-year old gave a glimpse of her bowling action on her instagram account, calling out Indian cricketer Suresh Raina - an occasional offspin bowler - to give her some tips.

Unsurprisingly, one thing that Das does not appear to lack when it comes to cricket is pace!

Hima Das and Olympics preparations

It was announced in February that Hima Das had shifted her Olympic preparations to the 200m from her pet 400m event, as she was looking to focus more on her speed and endurance.

However, with the Summer Games getting postponed and the Athletic Federation of India’s (AFI) also suspending all national events until September, the runner now has time to plan her next steps.

But with the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and since she is yet to fully recover, the Assam athlete does not want to plan long-term just yet.

“I am not worried about [the Olympics qualification], it will only create tension. There is a year still to go for the Olympics,” Hima Das said.

“Let us first pray that this pandemic ends quickly. Then athletics season begins (on December 1) and there is a lot of time next year to qualify for the Olympics,” she added.