Study break throws Hima Das off track?

NEW DELHI : World Under-20 champion Hima Das’s inability to hit her stride in her pet event, the 400 metres, has been put down to the 45-day break the 19-year-old took to appear for Class XII examinations in February-March this year.

During the time away from the national camp, which is overseen by Russian-born coach Galina Burkharina, Hima did not train and this pegged her back to a level from which she is struggling to bounce back in time to meet qualification standards for the World Championships in Doha, the Athletics Federation of India’s deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair said on Friday.

Hima’s season best in the 400 metres is 52.09 seconds, achieved at a competition at Nove Mesto nad Metuji in Czech Republic but the World Championship qualifying standard is set at 51.80 seconds.

According to another top Athletics Federation of India official, Hima’s decision to take a break was ill-timed because it broke her training cycle but since the athlete insisted on appearing for the examinations, there was no option but to give in to her demand.