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Sunday, August 27, 2023

Indian runners in the finals of 4 x 400 relay at Budapest

 We keenly follow Sports – and I read with interest that Karun Nair and Shreyas Gopal, two key members of Karnataka's double-treble winning sides, have obtained NOCs from the KSCA to play for Vidarbha and Kerala, respectively, in the upcoming domestic season.

                  Asia Cup is in the offing !  -  Outside of ICC events, the Asia Cup is the biggest international limited-overs tournament, played between the top sides in Asia. Since 1984, when the first one was held, there have been 15 editions. Sri Lanka are the reigning champions, having beaten Pakistan in the 2022 final. India were eliminated in the Super Fours last year; that's the second stage of the competition. It was Sri Lanka's sixth Asia Cup title. India have won it seven times, while Pakistan have won it twice. 

Time to move away from Cricket and read about other Sports too !! – do you remember the names of  -     Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon, Rai Benjamin – and did you read the names of -   Muhammad Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammad Ajmal and Rajesh Ramesh  !!! 

The 2023 World Athletics Championships, the 19th  edition of the World Athletics Championships, are being held now  at the National Athletics Centre, in Budapest, Hungary. 

The U.S. women's 4x400 relay team was disqualified in Budapest, due to a missed baton handoff in a heat.  The U.S. women's team has won this relay at seven of the last eight World Championships, and they have claimed seven straight Olympic golds in the event dating back to 1996. Quanera Hayes, the third runner in the relay, was unable to hand the baton to the anchor runner, Alexis Holmes. On Hayes' first attempt, Holmes turned around before the handoff had been completed. Hayes made several more attempts to pass the baton, but the handoff only occurred once the runners appeared to be outside of the blue box demarcating the legal passing zone.  The U.S. team is likely to appeal the disqualification, Mitch Phillips reported for Reuters.


American relay teams have dealt with several high-profile baton exchange issues in the past. Most recently, a baton exchange initially ruled as faulty during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics almost disqualified Team USA from the 4x400 mixed relay finals before they were reinstated following an appeal. 

For us the news of great interest is that  Indian men’s 4x400m relay team shattered Asian record, clocking 2 minute 59.05 seconds to qualify for its maiden final round of the World Championships on Saturday. The Indian quartet of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh ran a stunning race to finish second in heat number one behind USA (2:58.47) to make it to the final to be held tonight Indian time. 

The earlier Asian record of 2:59.51 was in the name of Japanese team. The earlier national record was 3:00.25 set in 2021. India eventually finished second overall also after the two heats, behind USA, but ahead of strong teams like Great Britain (3rd; 2:59.42) and Jamaica (5th; 2:59.82). 

It is a great moment that the Indian Men’s 4X400 relay team will be in action in the finals of World Athletics Championships, a feat that we have not celebrated thus far.  Let us congratulate and hope that the Team makes a big impression this time.


In 2020 Summer Olympics – the gold medalists in 4 x 400 relay race were from United States : Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon, Rai Benjamin who completed at a time of :2:55.70. Netherlands took the silver medal in a national record time of 2:57.18 and Botswana claimed the bronze. The Olympic record for the event is  2:55.39 for men, set by the United States in 2008. 

In a previous World Athletics Championship at Eugene, India’s Rajesh Ramesh got off to a slow start and the Indian team  finished last in their heat and second last overall clocking 3:07.29.  It was team of Rajesh,   Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Muhammed Ajmal, and Naganathan Pandi    

Now India qualifying for the finals itself is a remarkable achievement – late last night the Indian team shattered the Asian record and qualified for the final. The commentators didn't even refer to the Indian team till late into the third lap as the team wasn't considered a contender. Late into the final lap,  Rajesh Ramesh went past the American runner to grab the lead, the world stood up and took notice of India one more time this week.

Hope Indian team accomplishes something big in this event too
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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