Star athlete, Hima Das, who is the World Junior 400-metre champion and Asian Games silver medallist, has shifted to 200m from her pet 400m category as she looks forward to focusing on the speed and the endurance bit for the sport. This decision dims the chances she had for qualifying the Olympics in 400m reports The Indian Express.
The last season has been tough for her as she had severe back injuries and her training was affected due to recurring fever for over 3-weeks. The back injury also was the reason why she could not qualify for the world championship last year held in Doha. Given that, she also had won five championships in Europe but all while competing with low ranking players. Her best in 200m is 23.10 seconds which was clocked in the mid of 2018, which is far from the qualification time for the Olympics in this category which is set at 22.80 seconds.
This decision was made to ease the pressure on Hima Das for qualifying at her favourite event. After the high of setting a national record and winning a silver at the Asian Games in 2018, she had a torrid last year.
“It does not make sense to focus on the 400 meters this season because she does not have the basic conditioning level she needs. And in the 400 meters, you need a decent amount of endurance and considering that now there are only four and a half months till the end of the qualifying period for the Olympics, we didn’t want to make similar mistakes of last season and we didn’t want to force anything. If we put her into 400-meter competitions again there would be a lot of pressure. She is still young and we don’t want to rush anything,” Athletics Federation of India’s high-performance director Volker Herrmann told The Indian Express.
The AFI’s think-tank comprising chief coach Bahadur Singh, deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair, 400-metre coach Galina Bukharina and Herrmann took a collective decision to shift the star athlete to 200 metres for this season.
“Hima’s main limitation now is her speed for a 400-meter runner, so this year as far as individual events go, Hima will focus more on the 200 meters. The goal is to improve her personal best, and from 2021 onwards with better speed base and hopefully with more endurance as well, she can focus on improving her 400-meter performance,” Herrmann added.
The Indian relay squad is set to run against the German team, which will give them the exposure of competing against one of the top teams in the world and Hima has chances of joining the relay squad but the decision is still pending. It will only be revealed in May.