The Indian 4x400m mixed relay team finished seventh in the final race of the World Championships with a season-best effort here. The team of Muhammed Anas, V.K. Vismaya, Jisna Mathew and Tom Nirmal Noah clocked 3 minutes 15.77 seconds to finish seventh in the field of eight countries on Sunday.
Noah recovered a bit but India ended at seventh in the end, ahead of Brazil. The United States took the gold in world record timing of 3:09.34 in the event which was making debut in the championships. Jamaica (3:11.78) and Bahrain (3:11.82) secured the silver and bronze respectively.
The team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after reaching the finals in the World Championships on Saturday. The team clocked 3 minutes 16.14 seconds to finish third in heat number 2 and booked a berth in next year’s Olympics.
Anas ran the first leg and after that Vismaya led the whole second leg, giving India the lead midway into the race. Third leg runner Jisna was overtaken by Japan and Poland. The baton exchange between Jisna and final leg runner Noah was not smooth and there was a loss of split seconds. But in the end, Noah was able to finish third to take India to the World Championships final and Tokyo Olympics.
India finished seventh overall with the United States on top of timings chart with 3:12.42. It will be tough for India to win a medal in the final, on Sunday, but an important objective of the contingent in these championships has been realised. There was an air of relief in the Indian camp.
Athletics Federation of India’s Planning Commission Chairman Lalit Bhanot told “Yes, the team has reached the final in mixed 4x400m relay and by virtue of that it has also qualified for the Olympics,”
The mixed 4x400m relay, which was making its debut at the showpiece event, has been one event where the Indian team had high hope. It suffered a jolt after world junior champion quarter-miler Hima Das was ruled out due to her back injury despite being named initially in the team. National record holder Anas was not fielded in the individual event despite breaching the qualifying mark so that he can focus on the relay. Meanwhile, sprinter Dutee Chand’s World Championships campaign ended in disappointment as she crashed out in the first round while 400m hurdler M.P. Jabir made an exit in the semifinals. Chand clocked 11.48 seconds – one of her worst timings this season – in the women’s 100m heats to finish seventh in her heat and 37th overall among 47 competitors. Running in the outermost lane, Jabir finished fifth in men’s 400m hurdles semifinals heat number three and 16th overall among 24 runners with a time of 49.71 seconds. The top two finishers in each of the three semifinal heats and the next two fastest runners qualify for the finals.
The timing of the last qualifier for the semifinals was 11.31 seconds and it was well within Chand’s reach but she could not do it. The first three in each of the six heats and the next six fastest qualify for the semifinals. On the same tracks in April during the Asian Championships, the 23-year-old Chand had clocked 11.28 seconds during the heats and 11.26 seconds (national record) in the semifinals.
But on Saturday, she came up with her third-worst time of the season, after the 11.51 seconds in February and 11.61 seconds in March during the heats in the Federation Cup. Chand had exited in the heats in the 2017 World Championships also, clocking 12.07 in the heats.