The Indian men’s 4×400 relay team, comprising of MD Anas, Arokia Rajiv, Nirmal Tom and Amoj Jacob, broke the Asian record by clocking a 3:00.25 finish in their Heat 2 qualification race at the 2021 Olympics.
The previous Asian record was held by Qatar who clocked a timing of 3:00.56 during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. The Japanese team in the race also came close to breaking the Asian record but fell just short by 0.2 seconds.
Unfortunately, despite breaking the Asian record, the Indian quartet failed to qualify for the finals of the event. The top 3 teams from each of the two heats, along with two teams with the next best timings, made their way to the final.
India finished in fourth place in their heat and their overall timing put them in the 9th spot among 16 teams. They came agonizingly close but could not make it to the final.
From Heat 2, Poland, Jamaica and Belgium finished in the first three places respectively. Third-placed Belgium was just 0.88 seconds quicker than the Indian team. With the teams in Heat 1 being quicker, India sadly missed out on the second qualification criteria as well.
The same team had previously finished the race in 3:01.89 during the inter-state athletics meet in Patiala to jump to 13th position in the world rankings. This guaranteed them a place at the Tokyo Olympics as the top 16 teams in the world make the cut for the Summer Games.
A better performance at the Olympics
Despite a heartbreaking exit from the tournament, the Indians fared much better at the Tokyo Games than they managed to at the Rio Olympics. A baton exchange between two of India’s runners was deemed illegal and the team’s finish time was not considered valid back in 2016.
With scores of international tournaments coming up in the near future, the Indian team will be looking to make positive strides and improve further.
Also read – India at Olympics 2021