The Indian mixed relay team comprising of Muhammed Anas, Velluva Vismaya, Jisna Mathew and Noah Nirmal Tom finished seventh in the 4x400m event at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha. This was the first time the mixed relay 4x400m event was being held at any World Championship.
The USA team — comprising of Wilbert London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo, Michael Cheery — finished first, clocking yet another world record time of 3:09.34, while Jamaica finished second and Bahrain took the bronze. Great Britain, Poland and Belgium finished in fourth, fifth and sixth. Brazil finished last among the eight teams.
The Indian team clocked a timing of 3:15.77, a season-best timing. It was national record holder Anas, who had been wrapped up in cotton wool for the relay event, who ran the first lap. The Kerala born runner gave India a superb start finishing ahead of everyone, with Bahrain's Musa Isah close on his heels. However, then on the Indians were left chasing. Vismaya took the baton from Anas, she then passed on the batton to Jisna while Nirmal ran the final lap.
Earlier, despite a slight batton-hiccup, India finished third in their heat, behind Poland and Brazil, to qualify for the finals, registering their season-best timing of 3:16.14. India’s time was the seventh-best overall on Saturday. The USA, registered a world record time early on in the first heat with a timing of 3:12.42 and led the charts. The result meant that the Indian mixed relay team would get a direct entry to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
It was back at the Asian Championships in the same city that the mixed relay team had hogged the limelights, bagging the silver medal after clocking a timing of 3:16.47. The timing ranked 5th among all countries in this year’s list behind Poland, Bahrain, USA and Italy prior to the World Championships.
At the World Relay Championships in 2019 in May, India finished 5th in heat 1 with 3:23.59. Last year, in Jakarta, at the Asian Games, the Indian mixed relay team had won the gold medal registering their best ever timing of 3:15.71.
Heading into the World Championships, expectations were high on the mixed relay team. However, star quarter-miler Hima Das and relay regular Arokia Rajiv were forced out of the competition due to injuries. The absence of two first names on the start list threatened to hurt India’s chances of making it to the finals, and to Tokyo.
Nevertheless, Anas, Jisna, Vismaya and Nirmal produced a stunning performance and managed to finish the race with their heads held high.