Hima Das created history on Thursday when she became the first athlete from India to win a gold medal in a global event.
The 18-year-old achieved this feat by winning women’s 400 metre race at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.
However, while the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) was just as proud of the young athlete, a tweet from their official Twitter account left many netizens seeing red.
“Not so fluent in English but she gave her best there too,” read a tweet from the AFI that featured a video of the young athlete speaking after her historic win.
#HimaDas speking to media after her SF win at #iaaftampere2018 @iaaforg Not so fluent in English but she gave her best there too. So proud of u #HimaDas Keep rocking & yeah,try ur best in final! @ioaindia @IndianOlympians @TejaswinShankar @PTI_News @StarSportsIndia @hotstartweets
The tweet was harshly criticised by many on social media, with people pointing out that her ability to not speak English should not take away from her achievement.
“She has landed in Tampere for displaying her talent in track and not in English. Shame on you for what you said,” read one tweet.
“She has not been featured by the IAAF for her English speaking skills,we have lot of good English speakers in India but very few who can run like her,” said another.
The severe backlash eventually prompted the AFI to issue a clarification.
After her historic win, she termed it the biggest achievement of her life and added that she cried with joy on the podium when India’s national anthem was played.
“Bringing a medal for the country is the biggest achievement and that is why I am very happy. I am very proud to give this gift to the people of India,” Hima was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“I wanted the Indian national anthem to be played and making that happen made me cry with joy,” she added.
The Assam girl also thanked her parents and coaches for their support and guidance, besides expressing her gratitude towards people from India for their blessings.
She said it was only a beginning for her and she would continue to strive for excellence in future.
“I will try to give my best at the Asian Games. I don’t run after medals, I run after time,” said Hima who clocked 51.46 seconds in the final at the Ratina Stadium to bring home the gold medal.