Rajesh Ramesh reacts after the men’s 4x400m relay heats during the World Athletics Championships.© AFP
United States of America’s 4x400m relay runner Justin Robinson has admitted that he was spooked by India’s performace in the heats of the World Athletics Championships 2023 on Saturday. The Indian 4x400m relay team shattered Asian record in a stunning race, clocking 2 minute 59.05 seconds to qualify for its maiden final round. The Indian quartet of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh finished second in heat number one behind USA (2:58.47) to make it to the final to be held on Sunday.
The Indians gave the world record holders Americans a run for their money, finishing closely behind them. Rajesh was the one who took the final charge for the Indian team and narrowly missed USA’s Robinson.
“I was thinking I’ll conserve some energy for the final. But then I could feel something coming up behind me. I didn’t know it was an Indian. But I knew this wasn’t ok. I was like, ‘This isn’t right!’ So, I had to turn it up,” said Robinson as quoted by Sportstar.
The top three finishers in each of the two heats and the next two fastest qualify for the final. The earlier Asian record of 2:59.51 was in the name of Japanese team. The earlier national record was 3:00.25 set in 2021.
India eventually finished second overall also after the two heats, behind USA, but ahead of strong teams like Great Britain (3rd; 2:59.42) and Jamaica (5th; 2:59.82).
India will be competing in the 4x400m relay final at World Athletics Championships 2023 on Monday from 01:07am IST onwards (Local time 09:37pm, Sunday).
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