Rajesh Gets Injured as Indian Relay Teams Fail To Enter Finals at World Relays 2024

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An unexpected injury, a surprising poor performance and some weird choices in terms of team selection sum up the disappointing results on Day 1 at World Relays 2024 in the Bahamas.

One of the most exciting events in athletics i.e., the World Relays, started today and the excitement level was also high as it was acting as a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics 2024.
It was a very important event, to say the
least, and India was equally preparing for it as they sent their team to the Bahamas a month before the event so that they could acclimate to the place well and qualify for the Olympics.

But Day 1 had some unfortunate plans for us in all our races

Mixed Relay Never Started for India

The day started for us with the Mixed 4x400m relay, where Rajesh Ramesh ran a decent 46.79, but we were languishing in 6th place after the first leg. Rupal then tried her best with a good timing of 52.65 in the second leg, but it was not
enough as other female runners were very strong in that leg, and we went down to 7th place.

But it was the last two legs that were the poorest, as Avinash Kumar and Jyothika Dandi Sri ran a poor 48.01 and 52.91 in the third
and fourth legs, respectively.
Out of the seven teams, we finished sixth (the
first two teams to qualify for the finals and Paris) as Bahrain DNF (Did Not Finish) and 25th overall, with a cumulative timing of 3.20.36.

Even before the race, it was surprising to see Noah Nirmal Tom, who came first in the recently concluded national 400m competition in India, was not part of either the mixed team or men’s team, while Rajesh Ramesh, a brilliant runner
himself and a part of the dream team of men’s 4x400m who was coming back from an injury, was selected for both men and mixed relay.

What has transpired in the past month and why such decisions were taken—only the coaches and team management have the answers to it.

But we still have some rays of hope, as all the teams that finished outside of the top two of their respective heats will get a second shot at Paris tomorrow during round two of the qualifications, where they have to again finish in the top two of their heats to qualify for the Olympics, while the rest of the teams that qualified in the first round itself will go to the finals.

No finals for us.

India’s heat for Mixed 4x400m relay Olympic qualifying round 2 tomorrow

Women Started Slow

Next up was the Women’s 4x400m relay, which started off with Vithya Ramraj, who is currently the fastest 400m runner in India and who was expected to give us a quick start, ran a surprisingly poor 54.08, placing us at 6th after the first leg.

Poovamma’s decent 52.87 in the 2nd leg didn’t help much to our cause as we languished to 7th, but a surprisingly brilliant performance by Jyothika, who had a below-par performance in the mixed relay, ran the third leg with a timing of 51.13, the fastest among all the women in that leg and Subha’s good timing of 51.66 in the final leg led us to 5th position out of the seven teams and 14th overall with a cumulative timing of 3.29.74.

The Heartbreaking Second Leg

The event where we were expected to do really well was the Men’s 4x400m, which ended up being the biggest disappointment for everyone who woke up early to watch it as we were unable to finish the race.

Muhammed Anas Yahiya ran the 2nd fastest first leg in the heats, but it was of no avail as Rajesh Ramesh suddenly had to pull off in the 2nd leg because of cramps or an injury in his left leg (details yet to be known) after starting off quickly.
The heats for the second round of qualifications will be a tough one for men’s relay, as big teams like the USA, who were also unable to qualify for the finals as they were disqualified in their heat for moving out of the assigned order at one of the changeovers, will be present in our heat tomorrow.

India’s heat for Men’s & Women’s 4x400m relay Olympic qualifying round 2, tomorrow

In Indian Standard Time (IST),
May 6, Monday
• Men’s 4x400m relay Olympic qualifying round 2 (heats): 6:38AM
• Women’s 4x400m relay Olympic qualifying round 2 (heat 1): 6:02AM
• Mixed 4x400m relay Olympic qualifying round 2 (heat 1): 4:45AM

Written by Naman

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