India made history at the World Athletics Championship -as for the first-ever, the mixed team reached the finals and thereby booked a birth in Tokyo Olympics. The mixed relay team, comprising of Muhammed Anas, Vismaya, Krishna Mathew and Noah Nirmal finished third in the 2nd heat of the semi-finals with a time of 3:16.14s to qualify for the final of the 4x400m in Doha on Saturday night. "We are extremely happy. Despite a baton fumble we recovered and managed to pull this one up. Apart from the fumble, we had excellent coordination with each other and all four of us ran our best. We will try to give our best in finals," Md Anas told Republic TV over the phone from Doha after the super performance. Earlier, Dutee Chand, clocked 11.48 seconds in her heat, well below her season-best, to finish in 37th place & crash out in the first round of the women's 100m.
Dutee had failed to meet the qualifying standards for world championships in 2019 but she made it to Doha meet after getting an invite from the IAAF. She also failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as the qualification standard for the 2020 Games was set at 11.15 seconds. 400m hurdler MP Jabir finished fifth in men's 400m hurdles semifinals heat number 3 and 16th overall among 24 runners with a time of 49.71 seconds. The top two finishers in each of the three semifinal heats and the next two fastest runners qualify for the finals. Jabir had qualified for the semifinals with a timing of 49.62 seconds on Friday but he could not improve upon it on Saturday. He has a personal best of 49.13 which he had clocked this year.
There is no doubt that India will feel the absence of two of its leading athletes, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and 400m sprinter Hima Das. Both have the experience of winning gold at the World Junior Championships, but injuries have kept them out of the World Championships here. Yet, the morale of the squad is high as each athlete will attempt to give his or her best.19-year-old Hima Das was not fully fit for the World Relay Championships held in Yokohama last May as she was suffering from Lumbar Spondylitis and which could be career-threatening to her. Das suffered a muscle spasm in the Asian Athletic Championships in Doha after which she was not able to complete her race in April this year.