New Delhi, July 12: Star sprinter Hima Das is not losing her sleepover qualifying for the Olympics, having included cycling and a bit of cricket in her "medium-intensity" training regime while taking care to avoid the sweltering summer heat.
With no competitions lined up in the near future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hima is taking it easy.
"There are no immediate competitions and so we are neither doing low-level training nor intense. We are just doing medium intensity training. Let us see when we pick up our training," Hima told PTI from NIS Patiala.
"It is very hot here and so we do only morning training. In the evening we have spare time and I do cycling (in the velodrome) and even do bowling with cricket balls.
"I try to enjoy life as much as I can. My motto is 'be positive and be happy'," added the reigning junior world champion in 400m. The pandemic has pushed back the Tokyo Olympics by a year and the international season stands suspended till November 30.
"I am not worried about it (Olympics qualification), it will only create tension. There is a year still to go. "Let us first pray that this pandemic ends quickly. Then athletics season begins (on December 1) and there is a lot of time next year to qualify for the Olympics," she said, exactly two years after she won the gold in the World Junior Championships in Finland.
The 20-year-old Hima, known as 'Dhing Express', is the first Indian woman to win a gold in a world championships and holds the national record (50.79 seconds) in 400m. A lower back injury has been troubling her for some time, leading to speculations that she may not run 400m in future and switch to 200m.
When asked, she said, "I am recovering (from the injury). I will do whatever is decided by my coach and the AFI. They will decide (which one I will run)."
Asked if she has fully recovered from the injury, she said, "It is in the process but I am fit to undergo outdoor training and we have been doing that for the last 30 to 40 days." She won a silver in the individual 400m race at the 2018 Asian Games and was a part of the gold-winning quartets in the women's 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay events.
Hima, however, suffered an injury during the race at the Asian Games and she pulled out midway into the individual 400m race in the Asian Championships in Doha in April last year. She was later dropped from the team for the World Championships. After treatment on her injured back, Hima won six low-grade races in Poland and Czech Republic in July and August last year. But she ran just one 400m race the whole of last year and four out of those five wins came in 200m.
The Athletics Federation of India has tentatively fixed September 12 to start the domestic season, but an upsurge in COVID cases in the country leaves a cloud of uncertainty over it. Asked if starting the domestic season in September is feasible, Hima said, "We are doing training keeping in mind the tentative schedule. But, on the other hand, COVID-19 cases are increasing, even in Patiala, and a lot of athletes will have to come (for a national meet). "Ultimately, the AFI will take a decision on the issue, taking into account the circumstances."