Hima downplays controversial statement (IANS Interview)

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New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) Star sprinter Hima Das on Tuesday backtracked from her statements against two individuals from Assam whom she had accused of exerting “tremendous pressure” ahead of her flunked 200 metre semi-final at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

Hima has clarified that the statements came “in the heat of the moment” and she had no personal animosity towards any individual.

“It was a reaction coming out of the heat of the moment. There are no personal grudges against anyone in particular. Let’s not blow the controversy out of proportion and mind our own businesses. Let bygones be bygones,” Hima told IANS here.

“There are many upcoming events which I want to focus on, and getting involved in such unnecessary controversies won’t help anyone. The main target is an Olympic medal and I am working hard to bring more laurels to both my state and the country,” she reiterated.

On August 28, around an hour before she claimed the silver in the mixed 4X400 metres relay along with Muhammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia and M.R. Poovamma, the teenaged Assam girl was red-carded following a false start in her women’s 200m semi-final.

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Dejected at the early eviction, Hima took to social media later in the evening, where she blamed “two persons” from her home state for creating an unnecessary controversy, which she felt was the reason for her flop show.

On Tuesday, probed further on the reason behind her false start in the 200m semi-final, the event where her compatriot Duttee Chand clinched the silver, Hima confessed to being confused, considering the upcoming 4X400 metre mixed relay event in the next hour.

“There was bit of a confusion during the 200m semi-final as there were four gold medals at stake in the 4X400 mixed relay event. I could not afford to lose that. There was no such pressure during the 200m race but the focus was on the next event, i.e the mixed relay,” she said.

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Asked about the kind of training, the team underwent considering the mixed relay event was introduced for the first time in the Asian Games, the 18-year-old said: “As an athlete, what’s important is the mental toughness. After returning from Finland (where she won the IAAF Under-19 gold) I started hard training from the very next day.”

“We underwent rigorous training for the mixed relay event in Finland, as the competition was introduced for the first time. It was a great experience for the athletes as well as for the audience.”

Hima, who clinched the silver in the 400m sprint event, revealed that her biggest advantage in the competition was being a new-comer to the global athletics scene.

“My biggest advantage was I didn’t know any of the athletes competing with me, leave aside their records. So there was no question of any pressure. It was a great learning experience for me, running along side the greats in track and field,” she added.

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Asked about her primary target in the 400m event, Hima said she wanted to reduce her timing by another micro second.

Hima also decided to dedicate all her three Asian Games medals to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away last month after battling old age ailments.

Hima, who hails from Kandhulimari village in Dhing, in central Assam’s Nagaon district, said she missed her family as her parents are yet to meet her in person.

“My mother isn’t aware of my sport while my dad being a former footballer knows a bit. They are really happy but they weren’t aware of my gold medal feat in Finland,” she said.

“I plainly told them it was another one-off event but the next morning when congratulatory messages poured in, they came to know that it was a global tournament. I am yet to meet them personally, let’s see,” she summed up.

(Tridib Baparnash can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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