Paris Olympics 2024: Indian mixed 4x400m relay team fails to make cut, Jena reveals he had ankle pain

The Indian mixed 4x400m relay team failing to make it to Paris will be a disappointment for the AFI. Both the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams have already qualified for the Olympics.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 19:55 IST

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Panchkula (Haryana): The Indian mixed 4x400m relay team failed in its bid to qualify for the Paris Olympics despite setting a national record as it missed the target time exactly by a second on the final day of the National Inter-State Championships here on Sunday.

India fielded two teams -- A and B -- in the mixed 400m relay event which also has Sri Lanka and Maldives invited by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) so that the timings are counted for world ranking purposes.

Three national teams are required to make an event an international one.

The Indian team's target was to clock 3:11.87 to go past Kenya (3:11.88) and take the 16th and the last spot. But the India A quartet of Muhammed Anas, Jyothika Sri Dandi, Muhammed Ajmal and Kiran Pahal clocked 3:12.87 to win the race.

In the process, the Indian team erased the previous national record of 3:14.12 seconds which was recorded at the Asian Relay in Bangkok in May.

Interestingly, Kiran, who won the individual 400m by breaching the Olympic qualifying time of 50.95 second, was named in the Indian team, though she trains alone outside the national camp.

The AFI has a well known policy that the relay teams will be picked only from among the national campers.

India B team of T Santosh, Vithya Ramraj, Amoj Jacob and Subha Venkatesan was second with 3:14.22.

Sri Lanka finished third with 3:18.18, while Maldives ended at eighth and last with 3:44.98.

The Indian mixed 4x400m relay team failing to make it to Paris will be a disappointment for the AFI. Both the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams have already qualified for the Olympics.

In other events, Olympics-bound Kishore Jena was pushed to the third place in the men's javelin thrower competition won by Sahil Silwal of Haryana with a throw of 81.81m.

Vikrant Malik of Odisha was second with 81.74m, while Jena won the bronze with a second round throw of 80.84m.

Asian Games silver medallist Jena, who has a personal best of 87.54m, was a relieved man as he got his confidence back with the 80-plus throw after the horrendous 75.49m effort at the Federation Cup in May.

He also revealed that he was coping with a minor left ankle pain which he felt after the Federation Cup (May 15-19) in Bhubaneswar.

"I felt ankle pain on my left leg (blocking leg) after the Federation Cup but I could not pinpoint when it happened. We consulted a doctor who told me not to worry about it. We reduced the load a bit, did recovery exercises and physiotherapy. The pain has reduced and it's almost all right now. Still, I did not go all out today," said Jena, who was representing Odisha.

"I am relieved that I got back to 80-plus throw after the Federation Cup. I feel I am getting back to my rhythm and I hope to do well in the Paris Diamond League on July 7 and then head to the Olympics." Star athlete Jyothi Yarraji, representing Andhra Pradesh, clocked 13.06 seconds to win the women's 100m hurdles, while Pragyan Sahu (13.15) of Odisha and Nithya Ramraj (13.21) of Tamil Nadu took the silver and bronze respecively.

Yarraji's national record stands at 12.78 seconds, while the Olympics qualifying time is 12.77. But she is set to book the Paris Games ticket through world ranking quota.

Yarraji said she has recovered from the minor hip flexor injury that she had sustained while running in a competition in Finland in May and she is raring to go in Paris.

"I am strong, fit and will do my best (in Olympics)," she said later.

"In Finland, because of imbalance in the last hurdle, I got pain in the hip area. I came back to India and did MRI. Now I am fit and I can do my best in the next event," she said, giving credit to her coach James Hillier for her strong show this season.

Another national record holder Tejas Shirse took the gold in the men's 110m hurdles, clocking 13.54 seconds.

The Olympic qualifying time is 13.27 seconds while his national record stands at 13.41.

"Seven months back, I never thought of attempting for Olympics qualification. This season has been great for me. I made the national record but I could not achieve my second target of breaching the Olympic qualifying time," Shirse said.

"This event is very technical and I need time to mature myself in the game as well as a person." Animesh Kujur and Srabani Nanda, both from Odisha, won the men's and women's 200m gold, clocking 20.65 seconds and 23.89 seconds respectively.

In the men's triple jump, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Abdulla Aboobacker of Kerala beat national record holder Praveen Chithravel for the gold with a best effort of 17m. Tamil Nadu's Chithravel, whose national record stands at 17.37m, was second with 16.98m.

Published 30 June 2024, 19:55 IST

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