Women’s sprint relay team breaks national record

The team which broke an 18-year-old record at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Beijing in mid-May while clocking 44.03s, bettered that time with a 43.42s finish while taking the second spot, behind host Kazakhstan on Monday.

The women's relay team that set the national record — Merlin Joseph, H. M. Jyothi, Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand.   -  Special Arrangement

The Indian women’s 4x100m relay team broke the national record, its second in about 50 days, at the Kazakhstan National Championship in Almaty on Monday evening and moved closer to the Rio Olympic qualification range.

The team which broke an 18-year-old record at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Beijing in mid-May while clocking 44.03s, bettered that time with a 43.42s finish while taking the second spot, behind host Kazakhstan on Monday.

Merlin Joseph, H. M. Jyothi, Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand, in that order, ran the relay. The same team had run the record race in Beijing earlier.

Today’s performance helped India climb two rungs, from the 21st spot to 19th, in the Rio Olympics world ranking list with the average of its two fastest times now being 43.72.

Kazakhstan and Japan, with an identical time of 42.71, are ahead of India in the 17th and 18{+t}{+h} spots while Puerto Rico (43.53) occupies the last qualifying (16th) rung with 43.53.

Meanwhile, the men’s 4x100m relay team clocked 39.90s. That time, however, will not take the men anywhere near the Rio entry standard.

The top 16 teams, based on the world rankings list which includes the top eight finishers of the IAAF World Relays meet held in Bahamas last year, qualify for the Olympics.

Teams have time till July 11 to make the grade.