India’s medal hopes at the ongoing Asian Athletics Championships in Doha suffered a setback on Sunday as sprinter Hima Das pulled out of the women’s 400 meters heat.

Das broke down in the middle of her race at the Khalifa International Stadium with acute back pain.

“She had spasm at L4 and L5. The doctor who attended her has informed us and he said there’s nothing serious. She will be okay within a day or two,” Athletics Federation of India quoted Radhakrishnan Nair, India’s deputy chief coach, as saying.

The 19-year-old had made a name for herself last year by winning the gold medal at the World U20 Championships and the silver at the Asian Games in Jakarta.

India, though, had something to cheer for at the Asian Athletics Championships on Sunday as Poovamma Raju Machettira reached the 400 meters final with a time of 52.46. The 28-year-old came second in her heat.

Dutee breaks national mark

There was further cheer for the Indian contingent when sprinter Dutee Chand bettered the national mark in the 100m heat clocking a timing of 11.28sec.

Chand smashed her own national record in the women’s 100m dash heat to qualify for the semi-finals.

The 23-year-old Dutee clocked 11.28 seconds to win the heat number four of the women’s 100m event. She bettered her earlier national record of 11.29 seconds which she set last year in Guwahati.

The Odisha runner, however, could not touch the 11.24 second qualification mark for the World Championships, to be held here in September-October.

Other top Indian athletes like Jinson Johnson (men’s 800m), Muhammed Anas and Arokia Rajiv (both men’s 400m), Praveen Chitravel (men’s triple jump) and Gomathi Marimuthu (women’s 1500m) expectedly advanced to the next round of their respective events.

National record holder Johnson clocked 1:53.43 in men’s 800m heats to finish second behind Qatar’s Jamal Hairane and qualify for the semifinals. Mohammed Afsal, who was named in the team in place of Manjit Singh, won his 800m heat in 1:52.93 to qualify for the semi-finals.

In women’s 800m, Gomathi Marimuthu clocked 2:04.96 to finish second in her heat and qualify for the finals. The other Indian in the event, Twinkle Choudhary, could not qualify for the semi-finals after finishing fourth in her heat with a timing of 2:07.00.

Arokia Rajiv won his men’s 400m heat with a timing of 46.25 seconds to advance to the semifinals while Anas clocked 46.46s to finish third in his heat and also advanced to the semifinals.

In men’s triple jump, Chitravel finished ninth with a jump of 15.66m to qualify for the finals.

(With PTI inputs)