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HomeSportHima Das’ ‘gold’ in CWG exposes ignorance about all things not cricket

Hima Das’ ‘gold’ in CWG exposes ignorance about all things not cricket

The ace sprinter’s phenomenal win at the junior world championships in Finland in 2018 is being lapped up as a ‘gold’ in the ongoing CWG.

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New Delhi: At a time when the nation is caught up in a non-cricket sports frenzy – the Commonwealth Games are on in Birmingham – a gold-winning performance can whip up emotions and go viral like hot knife through butter.

As for the facts surrounding the achievement? That is a tricky question to answer.

On Saturday, Twitter user Pegasus put out a video of ace Assam sprinter Hima Das winning the gold medal at a track event. He or she captioned it: “Hima Das wins 400m Gold in CWG at Birmingham.” The rather authoritative statement ended with three clap emojis.

Within a short while, the tweet got 12,000 retweets and 75,000 likes.

And since any achievement at the Commonwealth Games, formerly the British Empire Games, evokes the strong nationalistic fervour, one user replied: “Bringing back our stolen gold one medal at a time. Awesome performance, she won by quite a distance.”

Needless to say, many rounded up their congratulatory responses with a “Jai Hind”.

The video was widely circulated by several who believed it to be true, including cricketer Virender Sehwag and BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra.

The former cricketer, who seems to be avidly tweeting medal-winning performances at the CWG, floated this video to his 22.9 million followers.

He said, “What a win. Indian athletes have totally arrived. Many congratulations to Hima Das on winning gold in the 400m at the Commonwealth Games. Fakr Hai.”

Patra said, “It’s a history moment for the nation as our athlete Hima Das wins 400m gold in CWG at Birmingham. This is the first time India has secured a gold medal in the track events, that too by a huge margin.”

The BJP leader has 6.5 million followers.

Both deleted their tweets later, after discerning users called out their overenthusiasm, some pointing out that the track-and-field events have not even taken off at Birmingham. As they don’t in the first week of any major sporting event.

Fact check

The video was actually of Hima Das’ phenomenal win at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Finland’s Tampere in 2018, where she scripted history by clinching the top spot in the women’s 400-metre final race.

Many had congratulated that gold, including Virender Sehwag himself, who had “thanked” her for “the happiness” and called the moment an “incredible, historic achievement”.

If the “misinformation carriers” had listened to the 2.20-minute video carefully, many details – from the commentary to visuals – would have given away that it was not the Commonwealth Games.

The commentator clearly mentions the “American athlete Taylor Manson” as one of the runners in the junior women’s 400-metre final, speaks of the silver-medalist from Romania, and also says Das made “history in Tampere (Finland)”. He mentions Finland as the venue a second time in the video.

Well, America and Romania are not Commonwealth nations, and neither is Tampere Birmingham, many users pointed out.

But the cake for witty tweets goes to this guy!

For the gullible and uninformed, the track and field competitions at the Commonwealth Games will begin Tuesday, in which Das will only be competing in the 200 metres, scheduled on 4 August.

The 22-year-old had last run the 400m in the Asian Championships in Doha in 2019 but has now shifted to 100-m and 200-m events. She also competes in the 4×100-m relay and the last competition she participated in was an inter-state meet in Chennai.

However, the 22-year-old “Dhing Express” does not rule out a return to the 400-metres – which catapulted her to fame in 2018 – and is eying the postponed Asian Games, to be held next year.

Internet blunders surrounding sporting events

Viral misinformation around sports is common as users tend to lap up all kinds of “achievements” – be it due to foaming-at-the-mouth patriotism or the need to be the first off the block. And in many cases, it is perhaps sheer ignorance about games that are not cricket.

Last year, Priya Malik’s victory at the World Cadet Wrestling Championship in the 73kg category was incorrectly attributed to an imaginary victory at the Tokyo Olympics.

Bollywood actors Bhumi Pednekar, Vatsal Sheth, Sara Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor among others fell for it.

Another time, agency ANI carried news about a dope test being conducted on China’s weightlifter Zhihui Hou after she beat India’s Chanu Saikhom Mirabai at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to win gold.

The ANI report claimed there was a chance that Chanu’s silver would be upgraded to gold if Hou failed the dope test. Prominent sports journalist Boria Majumdar also wrote about the anti-dope test and how the “Indian delegation was not saying much”.

Soon after, the report was picked up by the mainstream media, adding further heft to Chanu’s “chances”.

Only a few days later, the news was fact-checked by several publications and was proved to be completely false. Even the Olympics news website Inside The Games ran an article disavowing the rumour.

The website stated: “A ‘made-up’ story involving weightlifters from China and India has been so widely reported throughout Asia that it has led to claims of athletes from three nations being involved in medal reallocations.”

Also read: CWG 2022: Indian lawn bowls players create history, reach finals of Women’s Fours event by defeating mighty New Zealand


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