IAAF World Relays: Hima doubtful; Indian teams eye World Championships qualification

India is competing in the 4X400m relays (men, women and mixed relay) and is fielding the same squad which featured in the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha last month.

The Indian women's relay team will look to finish in the top-five in the 4x400m relay event in Yokohama.   -  PTI

The fourth edition of the IAAF World Relays will get underway in Yokohama, Japan on Saturday. The two-day biennial event offers a platform for the athletes to qualify for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

The top 10 teams will qualify for the 4X100 and 4x400m relays and the top 12 will make the cut in the 4x400m mixed team relay.

India is competing in the 4X400m relays (men, women and mixed relay) and is fielding the same squad which featured in the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha last month, including junior world champion Hima Das. The squad left for Yokohama immediately after the Doha championships and has been training in the host city since then.

ROUND-UP: Asian Athletics Championships in Doha

Hima, the Asian Games silver medallist had pulled out of the Asian Championships in Doha — after competing in the 400m heats — because of a back spasm which was later diagnosed to be spondylitis of the lower back.

Bahadur Singh, the Chief National Coach, said that the under-20 World champion is unlikely to compete in the event.

“But it is not very serious, it will be okay with physiotherapy, they have advised that. But I think they will not put her in the competition,” Bahadur told Sportstar from Patiala on Friday evening.

“It is not advisable to put her in competition immediately. If she has had proper training before the event, only then can they put her in competition.”

Indian Teams for World Relays
Men’s 4x400m Relay: Muhammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia, Jeevan K. S., Kunhu Muhammed, Jithu Baby, Alex Anthony
Women’s 4x400m Relay: Hima Das, M. R. Poovamma, V. K. Vismaya, Saritaben Gayakwad, Prachi, Sonia Baishya


M. R. Poovamma, V. K. Vismaya, Saritaben Gayakwad, Prachi and Sonia Baishya are the other members of the squad. Poovama has the second best timing of 51.37s in 400m, behind Hima Das’ national record of 50.79. The other relay runners have a best time hovering around the 52-second mark.

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The Indian women’s relay team has a personal best time of 3:26.89 which was registered way back in 2004.  The women’s relay team — M.R. Poovamma, Saritaben Gayakwad, V.R. Vismaya,  Prachi Chaudhary — recently won a silver medal at the Asian Championships with a time of 3:32.21, the team’s best this year.

The Indian women figure in the last of the three heats and have Jamaica, Canada – who have been faster than them this season – along with Ukraine, Nigeria and China for company. In current form, the team stands a good chance of finishing in the top five provided Hima Das is declared fit and competes to her full potential.

A top-10 finish is good enough to earn a place in the World championships to be held late September.

The Indian 4x400m mixed relay team which won a silver medal at the Asian Athletics Championships 2019 in Doha.   -  Twitter @afiindia

 

The men’s relay team had to give up its silver medal because of an after-race disqualification in Doha last year. The men will have a tougher time finishing in the top 5 as they will line up against European champion Belgium and Asian champion Japan in its heats. At least 11 teams have clocked under three minutes in the current start list.

Muhammed Anas, Arokia Rajiv, Jeevan K. S., Kunhu Muhammed, Jithu Baby and Alex Anthony are the members of the Indian relay squad.

The top two finishers from each heats and the next two fastest teams will qualify for the final.

The top two athletes from the men’s and women’s relay teams will be chosen to compete in the 4x400m mixed relay event, which made its Worlds debut in Nassau, Bahamas in 2017. India, incidentally, has the fourth best time of 3:15.71 in the all-time Top 10 list for the event.

India did not compete in the 2017 edition of the World Relays because of a delay in visa procurement. The team has reached Yokohama early this time and would hope for better results, considering relay has traditionally been a medal-yielding event for India at least in the continental championships.

Incidentally Bahrain, which won the gold ahead of India in the women’s and mixed 4x400m relays at the Asian championships, does not figure in the World Relays.

India Schedule:

May 11:

  • Women’s 4X400m relay Heats: 15:57 IST
  • Personal best: 3:26.89; Season best: 3:32.21
  • Men’s 4x400m relay heats: 16:20 IST
  • Personal best: 3:00.91; Season best: -
  • Mixed 4x400m relay heats: 17:52 IST
  • Personal best: 3:15.71; Season best: 3:16.47

May 12: (If they reach the finals)

  • Women’s 4X400m relay final: 16:07 IST
  • Mixed 4x400m relay final: 16:23 IST
  • Men’s 4X400m relay final: 17:22 IST