Vismaya in relay team, Nirmala dropped

India conducts another trial in Jakarta to finalise women’s relay team.

Galina Bukharina, the national coach for quarter-milers and relay runners, made it clear that Asian champion Nirmala Sheoran would not be running the relay.   -  AFP

The Asian Games’ athletics competition begins here on Saturday but the Indians are not done with their trials yet.

A trial to pick the last fourth member of the Indian’s women’s 4x400m relay team was held at the GBK athletics training ground here on Friday evening and Kerala’s V.K. Vismaya (52.4s, hand timing) defeated her State-mate Jisna Mathew (52.8) to grab the berth. Sonia Baishya (53.4) and Vijaya Kumari (53.9) were the others who ran the race.

A little later, Galina Bukharina, the national coach for quarter-milers and relay runners, made it clear that Asian champion Nirmala Sheoran would not be running the relay.

“The federation (AFI) had said months ago that non-campers would not be in the relay team and we have decided to stick with that. Nirmala will not be running the relay. It is too risky and a couple of girls have gone to court too regarding this,” the Russia-born American told Sportstar on Friday evening.

“Saritaben (Gayakwad), M.R. Poovamma, Vismaya and Hima Das will be running the women’s relay.”

However, P.T. Usha, Jisna’s coach, was unhappy that Saritaben was not asked to undergo the trial.  “Sarita best time in the 400m is 53.24s, it would have been fair if she had been asked to run in the trial too? How did she get a direct berth,” she questioned.

Meanwhile, Galina said India’s chances of winning gold in the men’s 4x400m relay was difficult as Qatar looked strong while Bahrain pose a big problem for the women’s relay team, the defending champion.

ANNU ARRIVES

Meanwhile, in another strange twist, javelin thrower Annu Rani who was dropped from the Asian Games team by the AFI’s selection committee, arrived in Jakarta on Friday. “She has a chance of a medal if she touches 60m, that’s why she has been cleared in the last minute though some selectors were not happy about it,” said a prominent coach.