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There's no stopping the Dhing Express, Hima Das, who continues to rake up new milestones and makes headlines for the third consecutive week this month. The 19-year-old from Assam sprinter extends her impressive run by claiming her fifth gold of the month as she returned to her pet 400m competition with a season-best time of 52.09s in Czech Republic on Saturday. https://twitter.com/HimaDas8/status/1152624286466789376 Though this performance was better than her earlier 52.88 seconds mark, which she managed earlier this season, it is slower than her personal best of 50.79 seconds, which she clocked at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. What is, however, a matter of concern that she narrowly missed out on the World Championships qualifying mark of 51.80.
In her first competitive 200m race of the year, she clocked 23.65 seconds on her way to gold at the Poznan Athletics Grand Prix in Poland on July 2. After that, she won her second 200m gold at the Kutno Athletics Meet, also in Poland, on July 7 with a time of 23.97 seconds. On July 13, she won her third 200m gold at the Kladno Athletics Meet in Czech Republic with a time of 23.43 while her fourth gold came at the Tabor Athletics Meet in the same country on Wednesday. It was the first competition in 400m for Hima since she had struggled to finish the Asian Athletics Championship in April this year because of a back issue.
Saturday's performance earned Hima her fifth gold medal in just 18 days since July 2 when she ran her first competitive race in Europe.
Race to the qualifying markThe series of performances Hima has been raking up is laudable. However, now the main target would be to qualify for the World Championships in September and the qualifying mark for the 400m event, Hima's pet competition is 51.80 seconds. With 45 days left for the qualifying window to close for the World Championships, Hima will get another chance to qualify when she steps into the track at the Senior Athletics Inter-State Championships happening in Lucknow next month. Hima Das gets cheered by crowd after her return from U20 World Championships last year. From the World Championships, Hima's eventual target would be to seek a qualification at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where the qualification mark for the 400m event is 51.35 seconds. Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is hoping to win three medals in 2020 Olympics with the likes of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, long jumper Murali Sreeshankar and 4x400m relay chances in women’s events. Hima being a part of the women's 4x400m relay team would be striving to enter the World Championships along with her compatriots like V. K. Vismaya, Saritaben Gaykwad, M R Poovamma. Hima's gold medal haul has been breaking the internet and being in the trend on social media. However, it is only the big-tickets events like World Championships and Olympics, that will establish Hima as once of the supreme contenders in the world.