India’s mixed 4*400 relay team – comprising Muhammad Anas, VK Vismaya, Jisna Mathew and Nirmal Noah Tom – finished 7th at the World Athletics Championship final with a new season best timing of 3:15.77 in Doha on Sunday.
USA won the gold medal with a new world record of 3:09.34. Jamaica were second. Bahrain were third. Poland, Great Britain and Belgium were the other teams to finish ahead of India.
India – like most other teams – went with a male running the anchor leg and the final leg, with the two women running the second and third legs. Poland were the only team who did not follow this order, having two males running their first two legs.
Anas did brilliantly in the first leg, as India took the lead for a while. Vismaya, who ran a brilliant lap on Saturday, lost some ground for India in the second leg. Then there was a bit of a glitch in the baton handover between Vismaya and Jisna, something that made India lose precious seconds in Saturday’s race as well.
India could not recover from this, with Jisna bringing up the rear in the third leg. Nirmal overtook the Brazilian athlete on the last leg to get India a 7th place finish.
The Indian team had already sealed their berth at the Tokyo Olympics by reaching the final at this event. On Saturday, the India team had registered a season-best timing of 3:16.14 to finish third in their heat and seventh across all heats.
The Indian team was missing Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv through injuries. In their absence, the quartet of Anas, Vismaya, Nirmal and Jisna – all from Kerala – have done well to achieve a commendable result at the Athletics Worlds.
Great Britain, Jamaica, USA and Bahrain were always expected to finish ahead of India in the final. As can be seen from a comparative analysis of the timings racked up by the relay teams in the past, there is a gulf between these four teams and the rest.
In fact, USA had clocked a new world record in this relatively new athletics event with a time of 3:12.42 in the semifinal as well. This was the first mixed relay final in the history of the Worlds.