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From Paradise to Paris 2024: The quartet set to race in the Olympics

After missing out on the initial route for qualification, the Indian men's and women's team picked up the pace and secured the coveted Olympic ticket.

From Paradise to Paris 2024: The quartet set to race in the Olympics

Amoj Jacob was excellent in his leg ensuring India clinched the second spot in the 4x400m relay needed to qualify for the Paris Olympics. (Photo Credit: AFI)


Arjun Mylvahanan

Updated: 8 May 2024 10:59 AM GMT

The ever-famous Tamil film star Rajnikanth said in a movie, 'Thundu, oru thadava than thavarum' (The shawl will fall only once on the floor).

The Indian men's and women's relay team heroes proved the famous dialogue right by confirming their berths in the Paris Olympics, even though they let go of an opportunity just a day ago.

Both the men's and women's teams put up a scintillating display in the 4x400m relay in the second round of heats at the World Athletics Relay Championships held in the Bahamas on Sunday.

By overcoming this hurdle, these athletes showcased not only their exceptional skill but also their unwavering resolve in the face of adversity by going above and beyond on the second day of the event.

Setback before the comeback

The Indian team entered the World Athletic Relay Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, fielding men's, women's, and mixed teams. Their objective: secure a top-two finish in their respective heats on the opening day to book their tickets to Paris.

With 14 teams vying for qualification in each category, the opportunity was ripe for the Indians. However, none of the teams managed to seize it. The mixed doubles team, comprising Rajesh, Ramesh, Rupal, Avinash Krishna Kumar, and Jyothika Sri Dandi, could only muster a sixth-place finish in their race.

The women's team faced a similar setback, landing fifth in their race, while the men's team, champions of the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, couldn't even complete their race due to an injury to Ramesh, one of the runners.

Despite the discouraging turn of events, the Indian contingent remained undeterred, knowing they had another opportunity. An additional round of qualification awaited them the following day, where once again, they needed to secure a top-two finish to clinch their Paris ticket.

Onboard the Paris train!

With tensions running high, the men's race kicked off, featuring Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Muhammed Ajmal, Arokia Rajiv, and Amoj Jacob, the latter stepping in to replace the injured Ramesh.

They ran with fervor, finishing second with a time of 3:03.32, securing their spot in Paris. It was Amoj Jacob, the final runner, who ran an exceptional leg, propelling India to a second-place finish and confirming their qualification.

Following suit, the women's team composed of Rupal Chaudhary, M R Poovamma, Jyothika Sri Dandi, and Subha Venkatesan showcased an equally impressive performance, particularly Jyothika Sri Dandi. Her remarkable time of 51.36 seconds marked only the second occasion in her career where she ran a sub-52-second 400m race, the first being in the previous day's heats when India narrowly missed out on qualification, with her time recorded at 51.16 seconds.

The women's team collectively clocked in at 3:29.74, securing their qualification for Paris, trailing behind Jamaica.

Looking ahead

Now that qualification has been secured, it marks merely the initial step in the journey towards the pinnacle. Excelling in Paris should stand as the primary objective for all athletes bound for the Olympics.

With 19 Indian athletes poised to compete in Paris, including the reigning gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, India eyes a robust performance in athletics on the global stage.

The Indian contingent aims to refine their timings in preparation for the ultimate showdown in August, striving for the highest accolades. While athletes like Jyothika exhibit promising individual progress, collective efforts are imperative to bridge the gap and enhance performance both on and off the field.

Furthermore, the mixed team holds a potential avenue for qualification, contingent upon their performance at the forthcoming Asian Relays.

For the present, the athletic community revels in the qualification of both the men's and women's teams. Their achievement stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of Indian athletics, kindling a flame of hope and pride throughout the nation.

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