India’s 4x400m mixed relay team can reach the final of the Doha World Championships despite the absence of top quarter-miler Hima Das, deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair said on Thursday.
World junior champion Das was on Wednesday ruled out of the showpiece event beginning on September 27 due to her persistent back injury in a setback to the Indian team which was putting a lot of hope in the newly introduced mixed 4x400m relay event.
“Not much difference [with Das being ruled out]. We have to stay positive and still believe that we can reach the finals in mixed 4x400m relay,” Nair was quoted as saying by PTI.
The top eight finishers in the relay events of the World Championships will automatically qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India qualified in the World Championships as the 14th ranked team in the mixed 4x400m relay based on its Asian Games gold winning time of 3:15.71.
Bahrain was the original winner but it was stripped of the top spot as one its runners was caught for doping. Muhammed Anas, Arokia Rajiv, MR Poovamma and Hima Das ran that race in Jakarta.
In Doha, however, neither Hima will be there nor Rajiv, who is also laid low with an injury. Jisna Mathew, Poovamma and VK Vismaya were named along with Jacob Amoj, Anas and Noah Tom Nirmal for the 4x400m mixed relay.
Meanwhile in another development, Anas will not run in the individual 400m race as the Athletics Federation of India did not enter his name for the event despite crossing the qualifying mark. He has been entered only for the men’s 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay.
The IAAF on Thursday released the provisional entry list of the athletes, country-wise as well as event-wise, and Anas’ name was there only in the men’s 4x400m and mixed 4x400m relay, and not in the individual 400m race.
“We have not entered Anas for individual 400m as we thought he can help the country better in the men’s 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay. We have good chance to do well in the relays, especially in the mixed 4x400m relay,” an AFI official was quoted as saying.
Anas, however, said that he did not know that he will not be running in the individual 400m race. “I did not know about that [not running individual 400m]. I will have to check with AFI or coaches,” Anas said from his training base in Europe.
Anas had crossed the World Championships qualifying mark of 45.30 at the Kladno international meet in the Czech Republic on July 13 by clocking 45.21, while also bettering his own earlier national record (45.24) in the process.
Twenty-six Indians featured in the IAAF provisional list with Hima expectedly missing out. But the participation of Anjali Devi, who was included in the IAAF provisional list in the women’s 400m individual race, will be subject to a confirmatory trial in Patiala on September 21. She was not named in the 25-member team announced on September 9.
Dutee Chand [women’s 100m] was also not named in that squad but later got the invite from the IAAF which the AFI confirmed. Archana Suseendran (women’s 200m) did not the get the invite from the IAAF.
Meanwhile, it came to light that President of Indian Federation of Sports Medicine, Dr PSM Chandran had in May written to the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Rajagopalan about the risks of Das continuing to run despite reports of injury.
“Media reported that Hima, who is in Yokohama for World relay championships, is suffering from severe backache, diagnosed as Lumbar Spondylitis, which could turn out to be a career threatening injury for a runner,” Chandran, a sports medicine expert, had then written.
“If she is suffering from lumbar spondylitis, she need to be given rest and physiotherapy and be taken care of by the best rehabilitation experts within the country or abroad.
“Instead of allowing her to continue travelling with the team, she needs to be called back and her condition assessed by experts in modern medicine as well as in traditional medicine,” wrote Chandran who has worked as director at the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
In that letter, Chandran had also raised questions about gymnast Dipa Karmakar’s injury management. “Dipa is undergoing rehabilitation for her injured and operated knee since the 2016 Rio Olympics. Her rehabilitation raises many questions,” Chandran said.
“The surgeon who had operated her is stationed in Mumbai, her personal physiotherapist is stationed in Jammu and she is stationed in Delhi/Agartala. Dipa has been consulting physiotherapists in SAI, in Sports Injury Centre, Safdarjung Hospital and also some private practitioners.
“An anti-gravity treadmill imported at a cost of Rs 38 lakhs especially for her rehabilitation is now lying idle at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. It is also not known who is the nodal person who is accountable for Dipa’s rehabilitation and whether any periodic progress report on her rehabilitation is being filed With TOPS HQ,” read the letter.