World C’ships: AFI hopes for mixed relay success despite Hima absence

Quartermiler Hima Das will be absent from the World Championships in Doha, but the Indian 4x400m mixed relay team can still do well, says deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair.

File Photo: V. K. Vismaya (left) and Jisna Mathew will be participating in the relay, at the World Championships.   -  Stan Rayan

India’s 4x400m mixed relay team can reach the final of the World Championships in Doha despite the absence of quartermiler Hima Das, deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Hima, the world junior champion, was ruled out of the event due to her persistent back injury. It was a setback to the Indian team; the team harboured a lot of hope of performing well in the newly introduced mixed 4x400m relay race. “Not much difference [with the ruling out of Hima]. We have to stay positive and still believe that we can reach the finals in mixed 4x400m relay,” Nair told PTI.

The top eight finishers in the relay events at the World Championships will automatically qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. India qualified in the World Championships as the 14th-ranked team in the mixed 4x400m relay, based on its time of 3:15.71 — the timing had won the team the gold at the Asian Games.

Bahrain was the original winner, but it was stripped of its top spot as one of its runners was found to have indulged in doping.

Muhammad Anas, Arokia Rajiv, M. R. Poovamma and Hima Das had run that race in Jakarta. In Doha, however, neither Hima nor Rajiv will participate; Rajiv is also laid low with an injury.

Jisna Mathew, Poovamma, and V. K. Vismaya were named alongside Jacob Amoj, Anas and Noah Tom Nirmal for the 4x400m mixed relay.

Provisional entry list released

Meanwhile, IAAF, the world’s governing body for athletics, released the provisional entry list for the Championships. Twenty-six Indians are in the list; Hima, expectedly, has missed out. The participation of Anjali Devi, who was included in the IAAF provisional list in the women’s 400m individual race, will be subject to a confirmatory trial in Patiala on September 21. She was not named in the 25-member team announced on September 9.

Dutee Chand was also not named in the squad for the women’s 100m but later got the invite from the IAAF which the AFI confirmed. Archana Suseendran did not the get the invite from the IAAF for the women’s 200m.

It has come to light that Dr. P. S. M. Chandran, the president of Indian Federation of Sports Medicine, had written to the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) chief executive officer Rajesh Rajagopalan about the risks of Hima continuing to run despite reports of injury. “Media reported that Hima who is in Yokohama for World relay championships is suffering from severe backache, diagnosed as Lumbar Spondylitis, which could turn out to be a career-threatening injury for a runner,” Chandran, a sports medicine expert, had written.

‘Rest needed’

“If she is suffering from lumbar spondylitis, she needs to be given rest and physiotherapy and be taken care of by the best rehabilitation experts within the country or abroad. Instead of allowing her to continue travelling with the team, she needs to be called back and her condition assessed by experts in modern medicine as well as in traditional medicine,” he wrote.

Hima Das has been ruled out of the Championships due to a back injury. Photo: PTI

 

In that letter, Chandran had also raised questions about gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s injury management.

“Dipa is undergoing rehabilitation for her injured and operated knee since the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her rehabilitation raises many questions,” Chandran said.

“The surgeon who had operated her is stationed in Mumbai, her personal physiotherapist is stationed in Jammu and she is stationed in Delhi/Agartala. Dipa has been consulting physiotherapists in SAI, in Sports Injury Centre, Safdarjung Hospital and also some private practitioners. An anti-gravity treadmill imported at a cost of ₹38 lakhs especially for her rehabilitation is now lying idle at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. It is also not known who the nodal person accountable for Dipa’s rehabilitation is and whether any periodic progress report on her rehabilitation is being filed With TOPS HQ,” the letter had said.