Can Hima Das still make the cut for World Championships?

India's women's relay combination still remains to be forged. Hima's 400m run at Pardubice this week might just factor in towards the same. The September 16-Doha deadline looms large though.

Hima Das’ participation in the World Championships relay events became a matter of intense speculation after she was left out of the initial entries.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Just a year ago, the quartermilers were a very confident lot after winning the women's 4x400m relay gold at the Jakarta Asian Games but now, with the World Championships a fortnight away, the selectors and coaches appear to be still scratching their heads over their combination for Doha.

While the question marks over Hima Das' place in the team continue, the absence of Saritaben Gayakwad in the Indian squad has surprised many. The two were part of the team that won the Asian Games relay gold last year.

With a time of 52.77s, Saritaben was in the fifth spot in the Indian women's 400m list this season and even top coaches were not very clear about the reasons for her absence.

READ : After gold spree, Hima Das doesn't make cut in initial AFI entry

“She has an injury and she has to go for some surgery. We are not supposed to declare what type of injury she has,” said Radhakrishnan Nair, the Deputy Chief National Coach, on Saturday evening.

“She is not able to run, I don't know (why) exactly but she has to go for a surgery and she will need about a month's rest.”

Meanwhile, a top coach revealed that all the women quartermilers will run the 400m at Pardubice in the Czech Republic on September 19.

“Hima also,” the coach told Sportstar.

There have been confusing signals about Hima the last few months and she has run just two 400m races after pulling out midway through the quartermile in the Asian championships in Doha in April. Surprisingly, Hima has run five 200m races during this period.

The talk doing the rounds is that Hima, who won the under-20 World 400m title last year, has not fully recovered from the back injury that troubled her at the Asians but that is not very convincing.

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The 'trial' at Pardubice should clear some of the confusion.

And if the Athletics Federation of India keeps its word that athletes who skip national camps will not be included in the relay team, Anjali Devi – the country's fastest quartermiler this year – may not be allowed to run the women's and mixed relays.

Anjali, who won the best athlete award at the recent inter-State Nationals in Lucknow, has also achieved the qualification standard in the women's 400m (51.80s) but the AFI has asked her to attend the confirmatory trials in New Delhi on September 21.

Meanwhile, Jisna Mathew and V. Revathi will be joining the relay team next week. The final entries deadline for the Doha Worlds is September 16.