"Jyothi is like a sister to me", Hima Das applauds 100m gold medallist at National Games
Opponents on track, sisters off it. Hima Das praises Jyothi Yarraji who became India's fastest woman on Saturday at the National Games.
Hima Das of Assam finished 7th in the women's 100m finals at the National Games on Saturday with a timing of 11.74 seconds. It was Andhra Pradesh's Jyothi Yarraji who clinched the gold in the event after clocking 11.51 seconds.
While 0.23 seconds was the distance between Jyothi and Hima, off the track there's no such animosity that separates them. "Jyothi is like a sister to me. I was the happiest to see her perform so well. She listens to me and as a person, she's really nice," Das said in an exclusive with The Bridge.
It was through their coach that Hima recommended Jyothi, who's a hurdler by trade, for the 4 x 100m relay at the CWG. Since then, the Andhra girl's journey in the 100m began which has come to fruition with the National Games gold.
For Hima, the ongoing games in Gujarat is a new experience as this is her debut at the event. Accustomed to the air of international competitions, India's hot and humid weather is surely causing discomfort, but there are some positives too.
"After the CWG, we were taking some time off but suddenly Gujarat announced that the National Games are happening. This left us with little time for preparation but it feels good. This was the only competition left for me to participate in."
"The hot and humid do not suit outdoor athletes like us but the lack of any wind was the good thing. This made it easier to run," Das said about the weather conditions.
More than a year back, Hima Das was appointed as the Deputy Superintendent of Assam police. It was a proud moment for her and a year on, children want to be just like her. "Yesterday an 11-year-old girl came up to me with her father who has taken up running because of me. The father said that she too wants to become a police officer after seeing me," Hima narrated the heartwarming anecdote.
Das was honest in assessing the role she had as the DSP. "The Assam government honoured me with this. I don't have to do any work as such, but it is a source of livelihood for us athletes. You see, our careers have a shelf life. Till we are playing, we are getting sponsors and everything is fine. Providing us with these posts ensures our lives to go on and also inspires the future generation to take up the sport," Das concluded.