Hima Das has done India proud, becoming the first winner on track in the World Under-20 athletics championships in Finland. This is a breakthrough achievement as track events have been the least productive for Indian athletes in recent decades, which have seen tremendous advancements in so many other disciplines. The Assamese teenager may have graduated to proper running shoes with spikes only a couple of years ago, but she has been most impressive in her progressive performances in the 400m event.
Her finishing prowess enabled her to move fluently in the home stretch, putting some distance between herself and her rivals in a time of 51.46 seconds. In beating all comers, including those older than her, Hima suggests she has great potential that raises the prospects of a track medal in world-level IAAF and other competitions. The younger they come out winning, even in age-level events, the better their future should be. A string of sporting accomplishments across disciplines in recent times, including in the Olympics, suggests that Indian sportswomen are getting over their inhibitions and have upped their self-confidence to the extent of being able to produce their best in international venues.
Badminton stars Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu have been blazing a trail for long now, and gymnast Dipa Karmakar made a breakthrough in the Olympics. Equal opportunities at training and an explosion in private and government aid for achievers in sponsorship and rewards in fields beyond cricket have led to this bubbly scene, where our sportswomen are outshining even their male counterparts in competitive sport.