Despite a baton fumble just before the last lap, India recovered nicely and entered the 4x400m mixed relay final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha on Saturday night.
The all-Kerala quartet of Muhammed Anas, V.K. Vismaya, Jisna Mathew and Noah Nirmal Tom clocked a season-best 3:16.14s to finish third in the semifinal, edging out Belgium by two hundredths of a second.
The final entry also brought India a Tokyo Olympics berth given to the top eight finishers of the mixed relay.
But, there were a few anxious moments as there was a small delay in the final baton exchange between Mathew and Tom who ran the last lap.
Jabir, Dutee crash out
Meanwhile, M.P. Jabir finished fifth, with 49.71s, in the men's 400m hurdles semifinal and failed to qualify for the final.
The 23-year-old Asian bronze medallist, who ran in the last lane, finished 16th overall, an impressive finish on the big stage.
Norway's Karsten Warholm, the world's fastest hurdler this year, topped the semifinals with 48.28s.
Earlier, World University Games champion Dutee Chand, the country's fastest woman with a time of 11.26s, was far away from her best as she finished seventh in her 100m heat (37th overall) clocking 11.48s and failed to enter the semifinal.
Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a former two-time Olympic champion, was the fastest qualifier with 10.80s and three Chinese – Xiaojing Liang (11.18), Wei Yongli and Ge Manqi (both 11.28) – also made the grade.
Missing out was Kazakhstan's Asian champion Olga Safronova who finished 31st with 11.40s.
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