Assam has a new icon – Hima Das. She is known as ‘Mon Jai’, which roughly translates to ‘winner of hearts’. Moments before racing to a commendable 6th place finish at the 400m final, Hima looked into the camera, folded her hands into a namaste, then mimicked Usain Bolt’s pre-race motion of the hands while saying ‘Mon Jai’.
Hima Das told The Bridge before she had left for Australia that thoughts of medals or finishing first were far from her mind. What she had left unsaid, of course, was that she would be winning many hearts.
At an athletes’ event on the day before the opening ceremony, Hima was seen dancing as if there was no tomorrow, spreading her infectious energy into contingents from other countries, who also started dancing after seeing her. Hima also obliged an Australian policewoman who wanted to take a selfie with her, continuing her flamboyant dance moves at the same time.
Muted smiles and national anthems
Sanjita Chanu’s weightlifting gold put Manipur into a frenzy but her own reactions were far more muted. Compared to what Sanjita was doing, her opponents looked to be hysterical.
The Australian lifter waved to the crowd, smiled and asked them to get behind her. The Kiwi lifter did the same. The Ghanaian lifter, in a bizarre instance of showboating, lifted one leg after completing her lift, leading to one of her lifts being disqualified.
Sanjita, on the other hand, maybe not used to any crowds at her events, had no expression except for a tiny smile after her last lift. A tiny smile that caused a ripple in her home state.
Another moment when all Indian hearts soared was after the badminton team gold medal match, when the large Indian representation in the crowd spontaneously stood up and started singing the national anthem.
The power of youth
Teenage boxer Naman Tanwar, who is fighting for a medal in the 91 kg category, has won more than just matches with his unorthodox technique. Instead of keeping his guard up, as boxers usually do, he lets one hand hang loosely by his side. What works in his favour is that he has reflexes fast enough to dodge out of most punches thrown at him.
After Naman’s first match, the general opinion from boxing experts was that he had a technique that was very attractive but that he would get found out against tougher boxers. During his quarterfinal bout though, most of the match commentary was on how soon Naman would be seen at the Olympics. This weekend, he will be earning his first CWG medal.
To bigger goals
17-year-old Mehuli Ghosh’s lack of experience showed in the premature celebration she did in the shooting arena, where she had to settle for silver despite getting to within a shout of gold. ‘How a massive error in judgement cost 17-year-old Mehuli Ghosh a gold medal’ ran a headline, but the innocence of her celebration was heartwarming.