By SM .19 Aug, 2021
NAIROBI, KENYA: The Indian mixed 4x400m relay team on Wednesday won bronze to clinch the country"s fifth medal in the history of the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi. It was the country"s first-ever medal in a relay event at the global level.
The Indian quartet of Bharat S, Priya Mohan, Summy, and Kapil clocked 3:20.60 seconds to finish third in the final.
Nigeria and Poland won the gold and silver medals with timings of 3:19.70s and 3:19.80s respectively.
India had entered the final as the second-best team overall with a championship record timing of 3:23.36s in the heat races held in the morning. The record was, however, short-lived as the athletes from Nigeria improved it by finishing their race in heat 2 with a timing of 3:21.66s.
Before Wednesday"s bronze in mixed 4x400m relay, India had won medals through Seema Antil (bronze in discus throw, 2002), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus throw, 2014), Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra (gold in javelin throw, 2016) and Hima Das (gold in 400m, 2018) in the world U-20 meet.
Despite being the country"s fastest quarter-miler, Priya H. Mohan had been left out of the Indian 4x400m mixed relay team for the Tokyo Olympics as she was not a national camper. But on Wednesday evening, the 18-year-old from Karnataka produced a strong second leg as India won the mixed relay bronze at the World Athletics under-20 athletics championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
Abdul Razak had run the opening leg in the morning but the team management replaced him with under-20 Federation Cup champion Bharath Sridhar for the final. And when Priya took the baton for the second leg, she was in the fourth position but the national champion worked her way up nicely to help India the third spot. The next two runners, Summy - who maneuvered through the traffic smartly at the start of the third leg – and Kapil also did an impressive job to help India to a memorable bronze, behind Nigeria (3:19.70s) and Poland (3:19.80).
Incidentally, it was the third quarter-mile of the day for the two girls. In the morning, nearly two hours after the relay heat, Priya was back on track for the individual 400m and entered the final after finishing third in her heat. She clocked 53.79s and qualified as one of the two fastest losers.
Summy, the other Indian in the event, finished fifth in her heat and 12 overall in 55.43s and failed to make the cut.
There were no surprises as the two Indian javelin throwers, Kunwer Ajay Raj Singh Rana (71.05m) and Jay Kumar (70.34), progressed to the 12-man final after finishing sixth and seventh overall in the qualification round.
Amandeep Singh Dhaliwal (17.92m) also advanced to the final in men"s shot but hammer thrower Vipin Kumar failed to make the cut, finishing 10 in his group and 20 overall with 63.17m. He had a personal best of 68.94m while winning the under-20 Federation Cup early this month.
South Africa"s Mire Reinstorf (women"s pole vault, 4.15m) and Ethiopia"s Tadese Worku (men"s 3000m, 7:42.09s) won the day"s other two golds.
Some of the world"s top countries, including the USA, Australia, China, Britain, Germany, and Japan have skipped the under-20 Worlds owing to the global pandemic.