Guwahati: The Assam Athletic Association (AAA) has come forward in support of Hima Das after she failed to qualify in her pet event of 400m for the World Athletics Championships to be held in Doha from September 27. The world junior champion was named as 4x400m relay runner in India's 25-member squad on September 9. She will also participate in the 4x400 mixed relay.
Many have criticised Hima for failing to improve her timing in the recent competitions. In fact, critics say that her timings in her recent outings were below par in the international order. Many sports lovers even took to social media to express their unhappiness, and most of them doubt that Hima would not be able to qualify for the next Olympics which is scheduled to be held in Tokyo in 2020.
AAA president Lakhya Konwar said that the expectation level is very high on Hima at a young age. He said:
The decision also irked many as they felt the sprinter should concentrate more on individual events. When the question was raised, Konwar said, “Look, the coach is the sole authority to decide which athlete should be chosen for which event in international meets. We have no hand in it. The mixed relay team of India this year has a good chance to win a medal, and perhaps it was this reason that Hima was included in the relay team."
Hima Das achieved her season-best timing of 52.09s to win 400m gold at Nove Mesto, Czech Republic after an injury-forced exit at the Asian Athletics Championships in April this year. Her personal best is 50.79s which was recorded at the Jakarta Asian Games. While, the fastest this season is Shaune Miller of Bahamas with 49.05s in 400m.
Meanwhile, an 80-member Assam team left for Ranchi to participate in the 31st East Zone Athletic championship, as informed by Konwar to this correspondent. The two-day competition will begin on September 14.