For athlete Hima Das, charity begins at home

The Indian sprinter also shared a touching story on how she has made her father proud.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Indian sprinter Hima Das has come a long way since her days of waking up at 4am to go running through the paddy fields.

However, despite being a household name in Indian athletics now, Hima Das, who hails from a village near the town of Dhing in Assam, hasn’t forgotten where she has come from and has stayed true to her roots.

Fondly known as the Dhing Express, her humanitarian efforts have seen her come forward to aid the needy in the past.

Sprinter Hima Das celebrates winning gold in the final of the women's 400m at The IAAF World U20 Championships with the Indian flag and a traditional Assamese gamcha around her neck

Her most recent act was when she pledged to donate a month’s salary to Assam's COVID-19 relief fund.

“The people in my hometown in Assam shower me with a lot of love whenever I am there. So, I feel that it is my responsibility to give back in times of need,” Hima Das told IOS Sports & Entertainment during an Instagram Live session on Thursday.

Relief during Assam floods

The brand ambassador of Assam donating to the COVID-19 relief fund isn’t the first time she’s come forward for her home state during times of emergency.

“During the Assam floods (last year) when I was competing abroad, the floods suddenly came to my attention,” she said.

“Even though we don’t use phones much during competition time, I got a glimpse of what was happening back home through pictures and videos and I felt bad.

“Plus, I got a team back home in Dhing as well as a fan club who I ask to go help out and they do that all the time whenever some problems come up,” the ace sprinter explained.

Hima Das donated half her salary for flood relief efforts in Assam last year and has continued giving back to her state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Flying high

Hima Das’ rise from the little town of Dhing has been inspirational. From someone who used to scribble brand names on her running shoes by hand, her life has now transformed with her success on the track.

She hasn't just made it on a national level, but also on an international level and is going places like she once hoped she would.

“When I used to play games at home and started learning while growing up, I used to hear the sounds of planes flying over my house and then told my father that ‘dad, one day I’ll be on that plane,’ Hima said.

“Nowadays my father tells his friends that Hima used to tell me this growing up, but I never took it seriously. However, he says ‘today she herself is flying and making me fly as well,’” she narrated.

The 2018 World U-20 Championships gold medallist in 400m, though, kept her cards close to her chest while responding to her preparations for the Tokyo Games next year.

“I’ll be going by the Athletic Federation of India’s (AFI) directives and will be following the decisions made by my coach for my Tokyo Olympics preparations,” Hima Das said.