Uncertainty over Hima Das’ inclusion in 4x400m relay team continues
A big question mark hangs on whether sprinter Hima Das will be a part of the women’s 4x400m relay quartet at the World Championships in Doha (Sept 27-Oct 3), as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is yet to take a call on the four runners. There is even speculation that Das might skip the event or the chief national coach Galina Bukharina might drop her from the race.
Six members of the women’s relay team—MR Poovamma, Revathi Veeramani, Subha Venkateson, VK Vismaya, Ramraj Vithya and Hima Das — are currently in Klando, near Prague, and will compete in a local competition on Sept 19, following which the AFI chief coach Bukharina will recommend the final names to the federation.
A seventh member, Jisna Mathew is training at the PT Usha academy in Kerala.
If she competes, all eyes will be on Das — who is nursing a back injury since November last year — on whether she is able to clinch a berth in the relay team after she failed to meet the qualifying time of 51.80 sec in 400m during her four-month training-cum-competition stint in Europe, where she won a few low-key events.
Following the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where she clocked a personal best 50.79 sec to clinch silver in 400m, Das has not come close to her personal best. In fact, during the European stint, despite competing in half-a-dozen races, her best has been 52.09, clocked in July.
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said that though Das has been named as a member of the 4x400m relay squad for the World Championships, a final call (on her inclusion) will be taken closer to competition. “The chief coach (Bukharina) will take a final decision on her,” he added.
The AFI also said that the final entries will be sent to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) by September 16. “We will send the names of 26 athletes to the IAAF. If Hima does well in Prague, she will run in the Worlds, otherwise not,” said an AFI officials.