Hima Das, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in a track event at a global event, has thanked her supporters for encouraging her.
Hima on Thursday clinched the top spot in the women's 400m final race in the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships held in Tampere, Finland. (Also Read: Hima Das scripts history, gives India its first world gold medal on track)
"I am very happy to win the gold in the World Junior championships. I want to thank all the Indians back home and also those, who were here cheering me. It was very encouraging to have this kind of support," she said after the race.
The 18-year-old Das, a pre-tournament favourite, clocked 51.46s to win the gold, which triggered a wild celebration at the Indian camp. This was though not her personal best as she had clocked 51.13 last month in Guwahti at the National Inter State Championships.
No woman before Das has won a gold medal in a World Championship at any level, be it youth, junior or senior.
Running in lane number 4, Das was behind Romania's Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning burst during the final stretch to cross the finishing line well ahead of the field. She produced her trademark burst at the final 50m.
Miklos took the silver in 52.07 while Taylor Manson of USA was third in 52.28.
Das, from Dhing village in Assam's Nagaon distrist, now joins the illustrious company of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort.
In fact, Das is the first Indian track athlete to have won a medal in the history of this competition.
The other medal winners are -- Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014).
Das was the favourite to win gold as she is the U-20 season leader in this quarter-mile event. Her rise has been nothing less than meteoric as she took up serious running only last year.
Das had earlier clocked an Indian U-20 record of 51.32 seconds to finish sixth in the Commonwealth Games 400m final in Gold Coast in April.
Since then, she has gone onto improving her timings. She lowered the Indian U-20 record in 400m to 51.13 seconds while winning gold in the recent National Inter State Championships in Guwahati.
Meanwhile, Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and Akshay Kumar on Friday congratulated Hima for her historic run.
Here's what the celebrities have tweeted:
Amitabh Bachchan: Congratulation. Hima Das, the first Indian women to win a gold in world athletic track event ever! India is proud of you. You have given us reason to hold up our heads high! Jai Hind!
T 2865 - CONGRATULATIONS .. #HimaDas , the first Indian Women to win a GOLD in World Athletic track event EVER ! INDIA is proud of you .. you have given us reason to hold up our heads HIGH ! JAI HIND !! 🇮🇳🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/Q0YVCx6FSf— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) July 12, 2018
Shatrugan Sinha: Yet another brilliant performance from India's daughter... Kudos to India's Hima Das who made history by becoming our first track athlete to become a world champion at any level after winning the women's 400m at the U-20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland, on Thursday. Hima Das.
Yet another brilliant performance from India's daughter..Kudos to India's Hima Das who made history by becoming our first track athlete to become a world champion at any level after winning the women's 400m at the U-20 World Championships in Tampere, Finland on Thursday#HimaDas— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) July 13, 2018
Akshay Kumar: Historic! Congratulations Hima Das for winning India's first gold at a global track event in Under - 20 World Athletics. Nicely done.
Historic! Congratulations Hima Das for winning India's first Gold at a global track event in Under - 20 World Athletics. Nicely done 👏👏— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) July 12, 2018
Farhan Akhtar: Congratulations Hima Das. 400 metre winner in world Under-20 championships. Proud moment. It is amazing that it coincides with the five year anniversary of 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' and Milkhaji's biggest dream was to witness an Indian athlete win gold in track and field.
Congratulations #HimaDas.. 400 meter winner in world Under-20 championships.. proud moment.— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) July 12, 2018
It’s amazing that it coincides with the 5 year anniversary of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag & Milkha-ji’s biggest dream was to witness an Indian athlete win Gold in track & field. 😊👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
Arjun Rampal: Congratulations Hima Das for this stupendous feat. The toughest race 400 metres. The first Indian athlete to win a title in any track event. Huge day for Indian athletics.
Dia Mirza: Proud proud proud! What an incredible day Hima Das. India.