The Board examination Hima Das took to put her off the track and she is now struggling to get her timing back and qualify for the World Athletics Event.
This was the view of her coach, who made it clear that she was starting from the scratch and has three more competition before September 6 for Doha qualification in the solo event but looks like it would be very difficult. Hima is running 400 meters this year at 42.09 secs while qualifying mark is 51.80 secs.
India’s deputy Chief Coach Radhakrishnana Nair told Indian Express that the 45-day break the 19-year-old took to appear for Class XII examinations in February-March this year was to blame for this situation.
During the time away from the national camp, which is overseen by Russian-born coach Galina Burkharina, Hima did not train and this pushed her back to a level from which she is struggling to bounce back in time to meet qualification standards for the World Championships in Doha, said Mr Nair.
“She was away for 45 days and she broke her training and did not do anything. Back pain was not a big issue. She could not train during this period because of her exams. This was in February and March and that has set her back. Otherwise, she could have been in the same stage what she was last year,” Nair said.
According to a top Athletics Federation of India official, Hima’s decision to take a break was ill-timed because it broke her training cycle but since the athlete insisted on appearing for the examinations, there was no option but to give in to her demand.
Nair said that Hima and the rest of the 400-meter squad — 15 in all — are in the Czech Republic and will get ‘two or three’ more competitions before to make the cut for the World Championships, the deadline for which is September 6.
“She (Hima) will run two or three competitions more. She has time till September 6. We don’t know exactly what level the competitions will be, but let us see. Hima still has time to qualify for the individual 400 meters. Yet, if she can’t she will be part of the relay team. The Indian men, women and mixed 4×400 meter relay teams as on date have qualified for the World Championships,” Nair added.
Hima won five Gold medals in July in East Europe but there was nothing much to write about the competition was too inferior for her stand.