U20 World championship: Indian 4×400 quartet wins bronze

New Delhi (TIP): The mixed relay team of Barath S, Priya Mohan, Summy and Kapil gave the Indian contingent a perfect start at the athletics U20 World Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday, August 18.

The quartet opened India’s account with a season’s best timing of 3 minutes, 20.60 seconds to clinch a creditable bronze medal in the mixed 4×400 metres relay event.

The Nigerian team won the gold medal with a championships record of 3:19.70, while the Polish quartet won the silver medal with a season’s best timing of 3:19.80.

Interestingly, the final was the third race for both Priya and Summy. After running the first heats as part of mixed team, where the team briefly held the championship record with a timing of 3:26.36, the duo also took part in the women’s 400m individual heats. “We were OK after the first heat in the morning. I only pushed my body 80 per cent,” Priya said during the press meet organised by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

“I felt a little tightness after the second race but our team physio and support staff got us ready for the race and I was happy and proud to win this medal as this was a first final for many of us,” she added.

The Indian team switched Abdul Razak Rasheed, who ran in the morning heats, with Barath for the finals and it paid off for the team. Chief coach Kamal Ali Khan said Rasheed was a shade slower than Barath and it was necessary to change the team for the finals.

“We knew that we would be on the podium with a start of 47 seconds in the final. Rasheed has been clocking 48 seconds throughout and so we had to change the team. The strategy worked and I want to thank AFI for giving me the freedom to make the change,” Khan said.

Barath, who is the Federation Cup junior champion, had been carrying an ankle injury and had to be patched up by the support staff before the race.

“I was told not to run but the support staff worked throughout the day to get me ready for this race. If not for them I would not have realised my dream of winning a medal for the country,” he said.

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