India’s two premier athletes had a mixed day at the Asian Athletics Championship in Doha with Dutee Chand breaking her national record in the 100m Heats while Hima Das was injured in the 400m Heat. 19-year-old Hima failed to complete the heat number one which was won by Nadeesha Ramanayaka of Sri Lanka.
At the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Dutee broke her own national record – set at the Inter-state meet in Guwahati last year. On Sunday she clocked 11.28 seconds – marginally better than her previous best of 11.29 seconds.
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The disappointment was writ large on Hima’s face as she suffered back pain and pulled out halfway through the 400m sprint. Later, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) confirmed in a tweet: “She had spasm at L4 and L5 (two lowest vertebrae in the lumbar spine). The Doctor who attended to her informed us and has said [there’s] nothing serious. She will be OK within a day or two,” said Radhakrishnan Nair, Deputy Chief Coach.
“You cannot just dismiss the injury to be a minor one also. So, we have to see her condition tomorrow or Tuesday and take a call after that. Fingers crossed and let us see,” another well-placed source told PTI.
In case Hima’s is forced to sit out then her absence will be felt in the women’s 4x400m relay race in which India has historically dominated. Hima is also the national record holder with 50.79s clocked in the Jakarta Asiad last year.
The other athlete in 400m women’s heats, M.R. Poovamma qualified for the final clocking 52.46 seconds as she finished behind Bahrain’s Salwa Naser (52.29) in the second spot.
Muhammed Anas made the semifinal in the men’s 400m finishing third in his heats with time of 46.36 seconds along with Arokia Rajiv, who climbed from fifth place around the 200m mark to win his heat with time of 46.25 seconds.
Jinson Johnson progressed to the men’s 800m semifinal as he finished second behind host Qatar’s Jamal Hairane, with time of 1:53.43.
Meanwhile, Gomathi Marimuthu qualified for the women’s 800m final as she finished second in her heats, clocking 2:04.96s.
Praveen Chithravel moved to the men’s triple jump final after finishing ninth in the qualification round with 15.66m.
More Indian athletes will be involved in further events today: 400m hurdles, javelin throw (women), 5000m, 400m men’s semifinal, 400m women’s final, 3000m steeplechase men’s, 800m men’s semifinal and 10,000m men’s final.