Hima Das not to participate in individual events at World C’ships

The track and field star needs rehab and will run only in the 4x400m relay in Doha.

There are worries that Hima Das may not be fielded in the 4x400m relays as well if she is not fit.   -  Getty Images

With less than a month for the Doha World Championships, India’s two biggest track and field stars are struggling with injuries and rehabilitation.

While javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is all but out after his elbow surgery and only recently beginning training, Hima Das is the other injury concern for AFI although there are contradictory views even within the federation about her readiness. A top-eight finish in Doha will ensure a ticket to Tokyo Olympics.

“There will be no more competitions for the women quartermilers. They are all in the loading phase and will not participate any more till the Worlds,” an AFI official confirmed. This would mean Hima, the country’s biggest track star and the foremost quartermiler, would not be participating in the 400m since she is yet to qualify.

‘Degenerative stress fracture’

“Yes there is a back problem, specially during long training sessions, but we need to assess the extent of it. It is not a new injury, though, as is being said. Also, there is no spondylitis as reported, which is an inflammation of the vertebra. What Hima has is spondylolysis, which is a degenerative stress fracture and needs more rehab than anything else,” the official added.

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In fact, there are worries that she may not be fielded in the 4x400m relays as well — women and mixed — if she isn’t fit.

However, national coach Radhakrishnan Nair denied all rumours of Hima’s fitness. “She ran the 400m as recently as August 24 in Czech Republic (she timed a disappointing 53.07s) and before that in July also. I refute any injury concerns,” Nair told Sportstar.

“The reason we are not looking at her participating or trying to qualify for individual event is because we are trying to actually get a medal in the relays, specially the mixed event. Our main target is to finish in the top-eight in relays at Doha so that we don’t have to run around for Tokyo qualifications for the next year. That is priority and we want her at her best for them,” he further said.

Federation sources, however, claim that there was little realistic hope of Hima managing to qualify in the 400m given her average timings this year. “Even if she manages to do so, there is little or no chance of her managing to cross the preliminary stage even. In such a scenario, there is little sense in trying to load her with an extra event,” they remarked.

Hima has run only two 400m races since the Federation Cup in March — she pulled out at the Asian Championships — and not gone under 52 seconds. However, her current situation puts a question mark yet again on her presence overseas for several months for training.