Indian women shatter sprint relay record

The Indian’s women 4x100m relay team, anchored by Dutee, broke the 18-year-old national record in the event by clocking 44.03s while finishing fourth in the IAAF World Challenge athletics meet in Beijing on Wednesday. But the Indian women couldn't qualify for Rio.

The Indian’s women 4x100m relay team led by Dutee Chand (right) finished fourth in the IAAF World Challenge athletics meet in Beijing on Wednesday. (File Photo)

With Dutee Chand breaking the women’s national 100m record at the Federation Cup in New Delhi recently, this was sort of expected.

India’s women 4x100m relay team, anchored by Dutee, broke the 18-year-old national record in the event by clocking 44.03s while finishing fourth in the IAAF World Challenge athletics meet in Beijing on Wednesday.

Merlin Joseph had run the opening leg, while H.M. Jyothi and Srabani Nanda were in action in the next two legs.

Host China won the gold in 42.65s while Japan (43.81) and China-B (43.09) took the next two spots in the five-team race. Thailand finished last.

P.T. Usha had brilliantly anchored the Indian team to the gold and the previous national record at the Asian Championship in Fukuoka in 1998. Saraswati Dey, Rachita Mistry and E.B. Shyla were the other members of that team.

Usha down memory lane

Memories of Fukuoka came rushing back to Usha when she heard the news.

“We were running fifth at the 1998 Asian Championship when I took over and helped the team win the gold,” Usha told Sportstar on Wednesday night.

“However, this record does not surprise me, not after we had girls running in 11.3 and 11.4 at the recent Federation Cup. But their Federation Cup performance did surprise me then.”

Dutee had broken Rachita Mistry’s 16-year-old national 100m record with a stunning 11.33s time at the Federation Cup, while Srabani Nanda (11.45) and Jyothi (11.46) had also clocked impressive timings while taking the next two spots.

Despite their stunning run, the Indian women are yet to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

With India missing the IAAF World Relays event in Bahamas last year where eight spots were available, it will now have to find a place among the best eight in the world rankings based on the aggregate of the two fastest times achieved within the qualification period which is from January 1 2015 to July 11 this year.

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