She is the World junior 400m champion and the Asian Games silver medallist but nobody is sure whether Hima Das will be able to run the quartermile in a major international meet again.

Two years ago, when Das broke the 400m national record with a stunning 50.79s at the Jakarta Asiad, many wondered how long it would take for the young Assam girl to go below 50s. Just a month earlier, Das had won the under-20 Worlds gold in Finland, the first Indian woman to do so.

But something snapped last year. Das pulled out midway through the 400m with a back injury at the Doha Asians in April 2019 and though she ran two quartermile races in the Czech Republic, she was mediocre by her standards, clocking 53.07s in her last race in August and missed September’s Doha Worlds.

Strangely, the back injury did not appear to trouble Das in the 200m, she won five races last year in Poland and the Czech…

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