Asian champion Indian women’s 4x400m relay team was disqualified for lane infringement while the men counterpart finished 10th to crash out of the World Athletics Championships, as the country’s disappointing show continued on the penultimate day of competitions here today.
The women’s quartet of Jisna Mathew, M R Poovamma, Anilda Thomas and Nirmala Sheoran clocked 3 minute and 28.62 seconds to finish seventh in the first heat of the women’s 4x400m relay round one but the team was disqualified later for lane infringement under Rule 163.3(a) of the IAAF Competition Rules.
It was learnt that Jisna, who ran the first lap, committed the lane infringement coming out of the second bend. She ran in the other lane after 250m. Had the Indian team not disqualified, the timing it clocked would have been the season’s best, better than the Asian Championships gold-winning time of 3:31.34.
Even then, a seventh position finish in the heats would not have given the Indian eves a place in the final round as they would have been placed in the 12th spot overall. Only top three in each of the two heats and next two fastest teams from the remaining qualify for the final round.
“We did our best but could have done better had we trained together for a longer time earlier for relay only. All four of us were training separately on our own (before coming here). The weather was good. We have been here for two weeks and training was good. Our performance is all right, not that bad,” Poovamma said later.
“We did our season’s best,” she added, not knowing at that time that the team has been disqualified for a lane infringement. United States and Jamaica, the two 4x400m relay powerhouses each won their respective heats. But USA will start tomorrow’s final as favourites having clocked a world-leading time of 3:21.66 when winning heat one, while Jamaica took heat two in 3:23.66.
Great Britain (3:24.74), Nigeria (3:25.40), Germany (3:26.24), Poland (3:26.47), Botswana (3:26.90) and France (3:27.59) complete the eight-team final round. The Indian men’s 4x400m relay team did better than its female counterpart by finishing fifth in heat number one and 10th overall in a field of 16, clocking a season best of 3 minutes and 2.80 seconds.
India fielded the same quartet of Kunhu Muhammad, Amoj Jacob, Muhammad Anas and Rajiv Arokia, which had won gold in the Asian Championships with an effort of 3:02.92.
The last qualifying spot for the final round was taken by Cuba (3:01.88), so the Indians missed nearly by one second. “This is our season’s best but we could have done better. We can do better than this timing but the issue is, since we were running behind others it is very crowded at the time of baton exchange and that means losing precious seconds finding a way out. “At the Asian level, we start in front from the very beginning. Since there is nobody ahead of us the baton exchange was smooth and there is no issue of crowding (at the Asian event). So we can clock faster times,” Arokia told PTI after the race.
“But that does not happen here at the level of World Championships. We have to learn how to overcome this issue (of crowding at the time of baton exchange), then only we can do better at this level and qualify for final rounds,” he added.
World and Olympic champions United States qualified fastest for tomorrow night’s concluding event at these Championships, the men’s 4x400m final, in 2:59.23, the best time run in the world so far this season.
Trinidad and Tobago clocked second fastest time of 2:59.35 ahead of Belgium (2:59.47) in the heats. But the chances of Isaac Makwala — who was rested for the heats after his exertions and solo time trials in the 200m– returning from London with a medal disappeared when his Botswana colleagues Nijel Amos and 19-year-old Karabo Sibanda made a mess of the final baton changeover and the team finished 14th overall.
Great Britain, France, Spain, Poland and Cuba also qualified for the final round on Sunday.