Bengaluru: The Athletics Federation of India’s idea to provide another chance to athletes with Olympic ambitions paid off well as the Indian men’s 4 x 400m relay quartet “A” consisting of Kunhu Muhammed, Muhammed Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun and Arokia Rajiv clipped more than one second from their four weeks old national record from Erzurum, Turkey (3:02.17) with a marvelous 3:00.91 clocking at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday evening.
The baton exchange by the “A” team went on with a clock-work precision. Arokia Rajiv, who bungled in the last exchange during last week’s National inter-state championships at Hyderabad, make amends this time to ensure that they team get in to the Top-16 rankings for Rio qualification today. “I had a fear of missing the baton. Somehow I managed to keep it throughout my leg of the race” Rajiv revealed after the race.
“It was a team-work. I give full credit to the boys. I was confident that they will make it today and they did not disappoint” explained coach Kunhi Muhammed.
After this evening’s race the men’s team leaped in to 13th place in the current rankings from its last night’s eighteenth position.
Women’s quartet back in the business
The Indian women’s team, who ran few minutes before the men’s race, also shown tremendous improvement in their timings as the foursome of Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Luka, M R Poovamma and Anilda Thomas timed a remarkable 3:27.88 – the fourth best time by a national women’s relay quartet of India.
The team, which in the previous day slipped to fourteenth position due to the ongoing European championships in Amesterdam, bounced back to its original 12th place after the evening’s performance.
Neena leapt wind-aided 6.57m
Railways’ V Neena, who has captured the long jump scene in the current season, once again on the spotlight as she produced a wind-aided 6.57m (+2.3 m/s) to ascertain her position this evening.
Neena, the inter-state winner with 6.45m, clinched the gold in Thailand Open with aanother personal best 6.46m less than a week ago.
The men’s long jump event witnessed keen contest between inter-state victor Yugant Shekhar Singh and Muhammed Anees, who finished second in Hyderabad.
Anees opened with 7.78m. Shekhar responded by improving his PB to 7.76m on the fourth round. Both the athletes leapt an identical 7.80m in fifth round. However Anees adjudged the winner with his better series of jumps at the end and hence avenged his defeat to the latter last week.
Fresh from his Inter-State victory, Amit Kumar (Services) once again toppled Rajinder Singh (75.40m) and Vipin Kasana (73.85m) in men’s javelin throw with 76.25m, although it was nearly three metres short of his last week’s performance.
In other events, Rio qualifier Inderjeet Singh (Oil India) was an easy winner in men’s shot put as he tossed the iron ball to 19.85m – that was more than a metre ahead of second placed Tejinder Pal Toor (Punjab, 18.66m) and national record-holder Om Prakash Singh Karhana (ONGC, 18.64m).
National record-holder Siddhant Thingalaya failed in his bid to qualify for Rio in 110m hurdles as he hit the third hurdle very hard that cost him dearly in his timing (13.75 secs) in a thin field.
Kerala’s Shilpa Chacko (13.41m) outclassed her Kerala teammate N V Sheena (13.29m) in women’s triple jump. Sheena, having a season best 13.58m registered during the Kosanov international meet at Almaty, Kazakhstan, last month could not find her rhythm this evening.
Maldives’ Hassan Saaid was the fastest man of the meet as he conquered the 100m in 10.37 secs ahead of Krishna Kumar Rane (Customs, 10.46s) and national record-holder Amiya Kumar Mallick (Odisha, 10.49s).
Team from Maldives finished fourth in 4 x 400m relay (men and women) and got a bronze in women’s 4 x 100m relay.
The fourth leg of Indian Grand Prix will be held at the same venue tomorrow.