New Delhi: Indian sprint sensation Hima Das has pulled out of the IAAF Continental Cup as the Athletics Federation of India wants to give her rest after a hectic season which saw her become the junior world 400m champion.
The prestigious tournament is to be held in Czech Republic from Saturday. Hima was initially among seven Indian athletes who were to take part in the season-ending IAAF event in Ostrava on September 8 and 9 but has now been replaced by Australia's Anneliese Rubbie as the second runner from Asia-Pacific.
The Continental Cup is competed among four teams - Europe, Africa, America and Asia-Pacific - in 18 events each in both men and women's sections and the mixed 4x400m relay. The top two athletes in the season's rankings from each of the four regions take part in the Continental Cup.
"Yes, Hima is not running in the IAAF Continental Cup. The AFI has decided to give her rest. She has run so many races this year from the Commonwealth Games to the World Juniors and the Asian Games. It is not good to make her run so many races," a top coach told PTI on Friday.
The coach, however, ruled out any injury to Hima, though reports had said she sustained minor side strains during the mixed 4x400m relay race during the Asian Games due to 'obstruction' by a Bahraini runner. She was also seen limping after running the 4x400m relay race in Jakarta.
"There is no injury to Hima. Athletes need good recovery time after a hectic season. She is very young, she has just started her career and we have to preserve and manage her workload lest she is burnt out," the coach said.
The 18-year-old from a village near Dhing in Assam started running only in late 2016 but has quickly risen to be the new Indian sprint sensation in a short span of time.
She created history by becoming the first Indian to win a track gold in World Junior Championships in Finland in July. In the just-concluded Asian Games, she broke two national records in a span of two days in the women's 400m (51.00 and 50.79 seconds) race though she had to be content with a silver behind Salwa Naser (50.09) of Bahrain.
Hima was also part of the gold winning 4x400m relay team and silver-winning mixed 4x400m relay quartet.
Neeraj Chopra (men's javelin), Arpinder Singh (men's triple jump), Mohd. Anas (men's 400m), Jinson Johnson (men's 800m), Sudha Singh (women's 3000m steeplechase) and P U Chitra (women's 1500m) are the Indians taking part in the Continental Cup.