Hima Das clarified that the five Golds are from warm-up matches as a series of articles in the national media exposed the standard of the events and the level of competition where Hima participated in the past one month.
While thanking the nation for supporting her, she with a video message sought blessing from all in her efforts while pointing out that recent success was in warm-up matches only and she would increase her competition in a bid to get a berth in the World Championship or Olympic
In the past one month Hima has been running ‘ E’ and ‘F’ category events, the lowest in the IAAF category with very mediocre competitors, none of who has a personal best better than Hima. Although silver lining is that Hima’s timing is gradually improving but serious sports journalists across India are baffled with the strategy of the team management for allowing her to run in not one but five such low-level competitions.
Although her time is improving but still it is far below her personal best while her main rival and Asiad gold Salwa Eid Naseer are shedding seconds and running not only sub 50 seconds but also nowadays competing in fiercely competitive IAAF Diamond league across Europe.
Hima has now time up to September 6, 2019, to qualify for the World Athletic Championship, Doha to be held between September 28 to October 9 at Doha.
Hima has understood the importance of the timings, which is way behind her personal best although she became the toast of a champion hungry nation in the past one month. That is why she released this video carefully reminding all that she is still in her warm up matches.
Hima knows where she belongs right now. In 400 metres, Hima is 87th. In 200m, she is 122nd. Also, her overall ranking is 1250, which is nowhere close to being an Olympic final contender. The ones where Hima struck gold in 2019 were club-level events. Her competitors were runners specializing in indoor 60m and 100m races.
But not everyone is convinced with Hima’s effort because the timings are not enough to qualify for the World Championships in Doha in September. “You need to compete against better people. In the four 200m races she ran in Europe, she was not running against runners who are better than her. You would like to compete against better people, people who train harder.” said senior journalist G Rajaraman.
The good thing is Hima Das, striving hard to recover from a back injury sustained during the Asian Championships in April in Doha this year, understands this.
Volker Herrmann (Indian athletics’ High Performance Director) feels that Hima is improving. “Hima is progressing in the right direction. If you want to run sub 50 seconds (in 400m) you also have to be able to run sub 22.80 in 200m. She is getting closer,” said Herrmann, as to why Hima began with 200m races before shifting to 400m in her last race on July 20, when she clocked her season-best of 52.06.
The Dhing Express hasn’t yet qualified for the World Championships’ 200m or 400m events, which will be held in Doha from September 26 to October 6.
Her male counterpart Muhammed Anas has qualified for the World Championships after bettering his own 400m national record last week.
“All around the world, athletes are facing the same problem. The coaches have to rush the whole preparation model. The athletes will need to peak twice, the first (peak) right now and second by the end of September.
“We are preparing a series of competition to raise our performance level and then we will continue on a slightly higher level with higher intensity towards World Championships,” he added.