Star sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand will miss the Olympic qualifying World Athletics Relays in Poland on May 1 and 2 as the Indian team’s connecting flight to Amsterdam has been suspended following the record surge in the country’s Covid-19 cases.
The women’s 4x100m and the men’s 4x400m relay teams were to board a KLM flight to Amsterdam in on Thursday but the Dutch government has suspended flights from India effective Monday evening.
Adille J Sumariwalla, AFI President said, “We are very disappointed at this moment. There are no direct flights between Indian airports and Warsaw, Poland. This meant that despite the best efforts, the squad could not be rerouted on another airline.
“For the last 24-hours we have been consistently trying to find alternatives, we have used all the resources to sort this out, we have been constantly speaking to the Organisers, the World Athletics, various consulates and airlines to reroute them. Under the present scenario nobody has obliged.”
The women’s 4x100m team includes India’s top sprinters such as Hima Das, Dutee Chand, Dhanalaxmi Sekhar, Archana Suseentran, Daneshwari TA and Himashree Roy while men’s 4x400m squad is comprised of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Arokia Rajeev, Amoj Jacob, Nirmal Noah Tom and Sarthak Bhambri.
S Dhanalakshmi, who had beaten Dutee in the final of women’s 100m sprint in the Federation Cup last month, was also named in the team, along with Archana Suseendran, Himashree Roy and AT Daneshwari. India will also field teams in the men’s 4x400m in the event to be held in Chorzow, Silesia, in Poland.
The top eight teams from the World Athletics Relays will automatically qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The women’s 4x400m relay team has pulled out of the event as more than two members are unfit.
The Indian mixed 4x400m relay team has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after reaching the final during the 2019 World Championships in Doha. The AFI was hopeful of the women’s 4x100m relay team qualifying for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.
(With inputs from PTI)
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