Medal is too far-fetched a thought and even hopes of making the finals seem barely believable as India enter the World Athletics Championship without two of their biggest stars -- the injured Neeraj Chopra and Hima Das.
There has been speculation about why Hima has struggled to post comparable timings after setting the national record of 50.79 seconds at the Asian Games in August last year after her breakthrough performance at the junior world championships.
"Unfortunately Hima will not be able to compete at the World Championships in Doha due to her back injury," the AFI said on Wednesday. This ends months of speculation over Hima's Worlds participation. She had been named as one of the women relay runners for India.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had on September 9 named seven women, including Hima, for the 4x400m relay and 4x400m mixed relay races. But it is learnt that Hima's name was missing in the initial entry submitted by AFI to the IAAF.
A decision on Hima running the relays will be taken based on the feedback from sports medicine experts monitoring her, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla told The Indian Express on Monday.
Anjali Devi ran the fastest 400-metre lap by an Indian for this season on Thursday, clocking 51.53 seconds at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics meet. This timing is more than half a second better than the season best by Hima Das.
VK Vismaya is perhaps the most improved Indian woman quartermiler training in Europe. Not long ago, she was considered the weak link in India's 400m women's relay team. Her timing of 52.12 from Wednesday is only 0.03 seconds slower than the season-best timing registered by Hima Das.
This was Hima Das' sixth gold in European races since July 2 though the field in most of them has been mediocre. Her last win was on July 20 when she clinched a gold in her pet 400m event at Nove Mesto in Czech Republic.
Dutee Chand was India's sprint champion and looked set to win medals at events like the Commonwealth and Asian Games as well as Olympics. But she suddenly found herself out of the race, due to a natural condition.
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