18-year-old Hima Das hails from Dhing in Assam. The daughter of a farmer, she clinched the gold in the 400m race in Tampere in the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championship, clocking an astounding 51.46 seconds, and became the first track athlete from India to win a gold medal at the world level.
Hima was suddenly propelled into the limelight, and her feat has captured the heart of every Indian, but the young woman has led a tough life, and that has roused the empathy of those living on the distant shores of Finland.
According to a Times of India report, a group of Indians living in Finland, made up their mind to drive over the weekend from Helsinki to Tampere, to surprise the athlete.
“Let’s do something for her,” was the message that Vicky Moga, who runs the Warriors Hockey Club in Helsinki, sent to the members of the Punjab Cultural Society and Punjab Sports Club in Helsinki on their Whatsapp group.
Things snowballed pretty quickly, and within 10-15 minutes, the members managed to raise 900 euros and soon met their target of (approximately) 1250 euros.
The group members reached Helsinki on Sunday afternoon and sought an appointment with Das and PT Usha, who happened to be there as part of coaching entourage.
Vicky wanted to ensure that the amount, which is approximately Rs 1 lakh, reaches Hima, so the group has transferred the amount directly to Hima’s personal bank account.
Das was overwhelmed by their generosity, but to her joy, their kindness did not end there. The group also presented mementoes to Das and Usha, and later, treated Das, Usha and the other coaches to lunch at an Indian restaurant in Tampere.
Considering that many Indian athletes struggle for assistance, this honour for Hima is timely.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)