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The gold that blinds us and binds us

The gold that blinds us and binds us

Pooja Korrapati

Published: 23 July 2019 10:53 AM GMT

Our quarter milers' haul of medals across Europe continues in Nové Mêsto nad Metuji at the Czech Republic. The golden spree by star athlete Hima Das continues with an all Indian field in 400m in 52.09.

We are in a tough fix

With the entry standard for the world championship at 51.80, she still has work cut out for her. Her last 400m run came at the World Relays in May. A clear finish in the top ten for men and women in World Relays would have booked a direct berth to World Championships in September, but a lacklustre show has our quarter milers depending on the world ranking, as of September 6. As of July 16, the relay ranking places Indian men at 15, women at 14 and mixed relay at 14. In order for them to qualify, they will have to hang onto the current places or higher and not slip beyond 16th by September 6. It is, indeed, a tough fix that we find ourselves in. With us teetering at the edges, only a realistic approach will bode well for us.

Hima's golds lack substance

Of the five International gold medals that Hima has bagged, none seems to have any substance. From Poznan to Tabora, she went from 20.97 to 20.25 in the 200m when she has a personal best of 23.10 and entry for WC is 23.02.

The emerging positives

Muhammad Anas, who clocked a personal best of 45.21, bagged a national record and a WC entry mark only a week back, is consistent and in form. He finished third at 20.95 behind Volko of Slovakia, who clocked 20.80, and Maslak. It is to be noted that Anas has seasonal best of 20.75 at Poznan two weeks back and a personal best of 20.63.

Muhammed Anas

Arokia Rajiv, who was back home with his injury still not healing, clocked a personal best of 45.37 at the Asian Athletics. This untimely injury is certainly a blow to our relays. Vismaya, who is steadily climbing since the start of season, has bettered her personal best to 52.48 in 400m and to 23.43 in 200m in the ongoing training to finish behind Hima Das. Nirmal Tom Noah, KS Jeevan and Amoj Jacob clocked 46.05, 46.47 and 46.99 respectively, seasonal bests for each. Poovamma, who is back from her Achilles injury has some field to cover to get to her running ways. Hurdler Dharun Ayyasamy is still out nursing injury and in the meanwhile, MP Jabir has 49.66 in the Nové Mêsto while he has a personal best of 49.13 at Asian Athletics.

VK Vismaya

An uphill task ahead

Indian teams are scheduled to run in the first edition of Balkan Relays in the coming week. It will be a test as to where our quarter milers fare in the race to World Championships.

These competitions that our athletes take part in are part of the training camp in Europe. Their exposure to conditions and should be treated as such. A lack of a strong field should be stressed enough in the backdrop of this medal mania. Hima’s best of 50.79 came in a strong field while competing against Salwa Naser at the Asian Games. Salwa finished as the world number one last year, while Hima hasn’t gone a sub 51 since.

Hence, this golden spree and medal-haul is an exaggeration by epic proportions. When we look at the weak field, they are contending with the conditions and the subsequent individual world ranking. When the national records and personal bests are way off even by entry standards into the World Championships and Olympics, it is not only an uphill task for the athletes but also to our mindsets that refuse to see a spade as a spade.

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