'Our bond helps us on track'- Indian men's relay team on historic performance
The quartet of Amoj Jacob, Anas, Ajmal, and Rajesh Ramesh broke the Asian record and National record at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.
It was a historic run in Budapest when the Indian men's relay team ran the race of their lives to break the Asian record and National record and qualify for the final of the World Athletics Championships, earlier this week.
The team finished a credible fifth in the final and came out as one of the positive performances for the Indian contingent at the 2023 World Championships.
Besides training and practice, another important factor was the off-field bond between the athletes- Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas, Muhammed Ajmal, and Rajesh Ramesh.
"We plan to go out together after this interview," laughed Anas during a media interaction.
"We hang out together and stay together as a team. There is a lot of camaraderie between us. If I am making some mistake, we will talk about it and try to fix it at the next opportunity. Our bond helps us on the track," said Anas about the camaraderie between the athletes.
The youngest in the team, Rajesh downloaded the recent blockbuster Tamil movie Jailer and made the whole team watch it.
"Rajesh downloaded it somehow in Budapest and asked us to watch it. It was fun to watch it. Apart from movies, we play sports such as Volleyball, Badminton, and cricket," Amoj added further.
A few moments affected the final race at the Worlds
In the final race, India started well but faced a few blocks in the second and third legs resulting in a considerable loss of timing and a fifth-place finish.
Talking about the finish, Amoj said, "The major drawback was Ajmal jumping over the Botswana guy. Had the Botswana guy not fallen, then not happened we would have clocked 2:58 for sure. I was blocked in my leg also and it tired me a bit after starting at full throttle."
In the heat, the Indian team clocked 2:59.05 to break the Asian record and National record.
Talking about the pre-race conversation, Amoj said," Before the heat, we were planning to run 2:58. Our coach had a plan for us, he told us the order of Anas Bhaiya, me, Ajmal, and Rajesh. He asked to run without any pressure and just focus on qualifying."
"After the race, we took some time in recovery as our physio was awake with us. Before the final, our coach asked us to give a bit more than our heat. We tried but few blockings happened in the race and we finished fifth," he added further.
Asian Games will be a tough challenge
Going as the frontrunner for the gold medal in the Asian Games, the Indian men's relay team will be facing some stiff challenges from Japan.
"Japan is one big challenge for us as they have three runners clocking in less than 45 seconds. We are the fastest and we will want it to be that way," said Amoj.
"We have recovered from the World Championships. We have another competition on the 10th and we are focusing on that. All of us are in good shape now and will remain the same hopefully," he added further.
Two sub-3-minute races in two days at the top level have set high hopes for the men's relay team and they will be looking to fulfill the same in the upcoming Asian Games.