India’s latest track sensation Hima Das returned home to a thunderous welcome on Friday, with Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and a host of ministers, officials and fans welcoming the Dhing Express after her success at the Asian Games in Jakarta.
From the international airport in Guwahati, Hima went straight to Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium where she kissed the track from where she won her gold at the national athletic championship before going to participate in World Youth Athletic Championship in Finland and in the Asian Games.
The Assam government handed over a cheque of Rs 1.60 crore as cash award for winning three medals – including one gold at the Asiad.
“It’s great to be here from where I started. I remember telling my coaches that if I need to do something I will have to start from here. I’m thankful to my coaches for everything they did. I’m also thankful to the people who blessed me for my success,” Hima told reporters at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Among others, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP president Ranjeet Dass were also present to welcome Hima at the airport. Besides, neighbours and members of ‘Mon Jai’ group, friends of Hima from her village also arrived at the airport to welcome her.
“I’m glad to see my friends and neighbours to travel the long way to be here,” she added.
CM Sonowal later appreciated Hima for bringing glory to the state during a felicitation programme at Srimanta Sankardev Kalashetra.
Addressing the gathering, Hima said that she hoped that the new sports policy of the state government would help in bringing out new talents. Hima, who is also a sports secretary of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in Dhing, urged all the organizations and students’ bodies to work to find out sporting talents from grassroots.
Sonowal said that Hima has brought glory to the state and now she should focus to do even better but she shouldn’t be under pressure.
The CM also promised to try his best to set up an athletic academy in the state to provide better training facilities for the young athletes following Hima’s suggestion.
During the evening, Hima was also formally made the ‘sports ambassador’ of Assam.
“I will try my best to do well and bring medals and improve my timing in the competitions,” Hima said during the event.