India, Sept.30 — India’s 4*400m mixed relay team qualified for Tokyo Olympics 2020 after reaching finals at World Athletics Championships on Saturday. The team comprising of Muhammed Anas, VK Vismaya, Nirmal Noah and Jisna Mathew, finished third in their heats, recording a time of 3:16.14.
The top 3 in each of the two heats and the next two fastest qualify for the final of the World Championships to be held on Sunday. The finalists (top 8) in relay races in the World Championships are automatic qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics.
Anas ran the first leg and after that Vismaya led the whole second leg, giving India the lead midway into the race. Third leg runner Jisna was overtaken by Japan Poland. The baton exchange between Jisna and final leg runner Noah was not that smooth and there was loss of split seconds. But in the end, Noah was able to finish third to take India to the World Championships final and Tokyo Olympics. India finished seventh overall with United States on top of timings chart with 3:12.42.
National record holder quarter-miler Muhammed Anas was not fielded for the individual 400m at the Doha World Championships which began on September 27 despite beaching the qualifying mark of the showpiece event. 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.
But the Athletics Federation of India has not entered the name of the 25-year-old Kerala athlete for the individual 400m for the World Championships, preferring to field him only for the men’s 4x400m relay and mixed 4x400m relay. The world governing body IAAF on Thursday issued the provisional list of the athletes, country’s 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 source had told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
(With inputs from agencies)