Updated: August 29, 2018 9:04:46 am
Hima Das went up against Salwa Eid Naser, a third time at the Asian Games, and there was plenty of drama as Bahrain pipped India to silver with a time of 3:11.89 in the 4×400 Mixed Team Relay. The race was blighted by a couple of human roadblocks with Hima at the centre of both pile-ups.
Muhammed Anas took off like a bullet earning the Indian team a good 30-metre lead in the first leg. MR Poovamma would run next alongside Bahrainian hurdles champ Oluwakemi Adekoya, and lose ground to the first female runner for the Middle Eastern team — trailing by around 30 metres.
It was at this juncture with Salwa and Hima poised to take off for the third exciting leg, that Oluwakemi would stumble and sprawl out on the inner lane. Hima would end up being nicked by the prone figure’s flailing leg. She would suffer a minor groin strain and run one of the slowest 400 metres in recent times.
The Athletics Federation of India launched a protest. “It was clear obstruction and we have lodged a protest. It also caused a minor injury to Hima and cost us some time. The jury will see what happened,” AFI President Adille Sumariwala told PTI. The appeal for obstruction will be heard on Wednesday morning.
The Salwa vs Hima face-off would only open up a wider gap with Hima struggling with her injury after having to jump over the Bahraini girl, and Salwa steaming away. By the time, Hima handed over the baton to Rajiv Arokia, Bahrain had managed a good lead though Arokia would try narrowing the gap.
Here, at the changeover, Hima would end up collapsing on the track and sitting in Lane 1 unable to get up herself. Arokia would come home in 3:15.71.
“They had better experience,” Arokia said of the Bahraini team, adding that the second leg runner surprised the Indians who were fancied for gold.
Salwa, who earned Bahrain the 50m lead, would say, “It was exciting, and we are the world’s best,” she would declare.
The Chinese who took fourth place would say they were mighty confused that men and women ran against each other. “We were surprised because we didn’t know that rule. Then lot of confusion happened because people fell on the track. We’re not sure but it was very exciting. We’ll prepare for Tokyo 2020,” a Chinese team member said.
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