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India’s 4x400m relay team betters Asian mark, but fails to make final

IMAGE: India’s Amoj Jacob, far right, runs the last leg in the Olympics men’s 4 x 400m Relay Heat 2, at Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on Friday. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

India’s men’s 4x400m relay team shattered the Asian record but failed to qualify for the final while the race walkers produced disappointing performances to bring up the rear at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

 

The quartet of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Tom Noah Nirmal, Rajiv Arokia and Amoj Jacob finished fourth in the second heat with a timing of 3:00.25 seconds.

They missed qualifying for the eight-team final by a whisker as they ended up ninth overall.

The first three in each of the two heats and the next two fastest qualify for the final.

The earlier Asian record was in the name of Qatar, who had clocked 3:00.56 seconds, while winning the gold in the 2018 Asian Games.

Jacob, who ran the last leg, was the best among the four Indian runners with a timing of 44.68 seconds. He overtook two runners after the team was placed at sixth when he took the baton from Rajiv Arokia (44.84s).

National record holder Yahiya understandably clocked the slowest (45.60s) time as he had to run the longest distance after starting the race in Lane 2.

Earlier in the day, the race walkers failed to impress with below-par performances under hot and humid conditions at Sapporo.

National record holder Priyanka Goswami was among the leading pack around the halfway mark but eventually finished 17th while compatriot Bhawna Jat ended at 32nd in the women’s 20km race walk event.

In the men’s 50km event, Gurpreet Singh pulled out after the 35km mark due to cramps under hot and humid conditions as the Indian race walkers ended their disappointing campaign.

The 25-year-old Priyanka clocked 1 hr 32 minutes 36 seconds, well outside her personal best of 1:28:45 which she had come up with during the National Open Race Walk Championships in February.

In the morning, the 37-year-old Gurpreet, one of the lowest ranked athletes in the event, was 51st at the 35km mark with a time of 2 hr 55 minutes and 19 seconds but dropped out just after that.

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