A chance to beat an Olympic champion!

How will an Indian quartermiler feel when he beats an Olympic or a World champion at the Olympics? With the IOC deciding to introduce the 4x400m mixed gender relay at the next Olympics, in Tokyo in 2020, there is a possibility of a such a rare thing happening.

Muhammed Anas, the national 400m record holder.   -  Stan Rayan

 

How will an Indian quartermiler feel when he beats an Olympic or a World champion at the Olympics?

With the International Olympic Committee deciding to introduce the 4x400m mixed gender relay at the next Olympics, in Tokyo in 2020, there is a possibility of a such a rare thing happening.

Our men’s quartermilers could be beating an Olympic women’s 400m champion like Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller or a World champion like American Allyson Felix at least in one leg of the relay!

Read: IOC drives push for gender equality, dynamic formats and exciting competition

“The mixed relays will be exciting for sure because we never get a chance to run against World champions,” Muhammed Anas, the country’s fastest 400m runner ever, told Sportstar from Patiala on Saturday evening.

“And had we gone for the recent World Relays in Bahamas, we could have had a close look at it,” said the 22-year-old.

‘JUST THE THOUGHT EXCITES ME’

Meanwhile, M.R. Poovamma, the country’s most consistent women’s 400m runner, said just the thought of the mixed relays excited her.

“I have seen it …it was there in the World Relays. Mixed relays will be really good.

I have not run against men in competitions but I know it will be really exciting,” said the Asian Games bronze medallist and Asian Championship silver medallist from Karnataka.

“Even as I think about it, I feel great…very excited. The new event will also bring in a fun element.”

NO SET ORDER

The two men and two women were allowed to run in any order at the World Relays at Nassau in the Bahamas in April but at the Nitro Athletics Meet in Melbourne in February, the women were allowed to run the first and third legs.

Read: IOC recommends awarding 2024, 2028 Games simultaneously

“I feel women running against women will be exciting that is what athletes would prefer too. There would be no competition at all if a woman runs against a man,” said P.T. Usha, who currently has two of the country’s finest women relay runners, Jisna Mathew and Tintu Luka, in her academy in Kozhikode.

“But if it is going to be any order, if a man runs against a woman in the first leg, the spectators will all be keenly looking at the next leg for all the excitement.”

Indian women have traditionally been stronger than their men in international relay competitions but with the men improving their timings in a big way in the last couple of years, Usha feels that the national mixed relay teams could be among the top three in Asia. “They should include it in national and domestic competitions early. Starting early will allow us to settle down and give us an advantage.”

 

Stats corner:

Indian man versus the world’s fastest woman

How they fare (in the 400m):

India’s fastest man ever: Mohammed Anas, Kerala (45.32s, national record).

World’s fastest woman: Marita Koch, Germany (47.60s, world record, 1985).

2017 fastest woman: Shaunae Miller, Bahamas (49.77s).