As Hima Das scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to clinch a gold medal at a global event—the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Finland, her home state Assam erupted with joy.
People in Assam were ecstatic and accolades poured in from all corners of the state and beyond as footage of Hima with the signature Assamese ‘gamosa’ wound around her neck and the national flag wrapped around her rejoicing at the track after her win was beamed by television news channels.
Hima is lovingly called the ‘Dhing Express’ because she hails from a village near Dhing in central Assam.
Congratulatory messages reached her parents from the Indian Olympic Association and Athletic Federation of India, numerous other bodies and people, while a large number of people, including her neighbours flocked to her home to celebrate her win.
Her father Ranjit Das said an excited Hima had telephoned her mother Jomali Das and him last night to convey the news of her historic win.
“She (Hima) woke us up. She was very excited and it took us some time for the news to sink in,” her father, who is a farmer, told reporters.
“We are elated that our daughter has won the gold medal for the country”, he said.
Hima, he said, has worked very hard and “We hope she continues to bring laurels to the country”.
The people of Assam have always encouraged Hima in her journey as an athlete.
“We thank them wholeheartedly and we also request them to continue to bless her in the future,” he said.
An emotional Jomali said she is very “proud of her daughter who has brought such great laurels for the nation. I pray to God to help her in future endeavours.”
Her parents were, however, peeved that certain organisations have highlighted her inability to communicate properly in English even after she did the country proud.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal congratulated Hima and said that entire Assam and the country is proud of her.
“Hima has brought glory not only to the state but to the entire nation and we are very proud of her achievements,” Sonowal told reporters.
He announced that the state government will continue to support her in future and will felicitate her when she returns to the country.
Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi too congratulated the athlete and announced an award of Rs one lakh on behalf of the Trust instituted in his parents’ memory.