Sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand are all set to team up for the 4×100m women's relay race, aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year. The celebrated runners will participate in the Asian Relay Championships in Thailand in April 2021, followed by the World Relay Championships in Poland a month later.
The Indian contingent will be aiming to book an Olympic berth for the relay team. We have not qualified for the 4×100m women's relay in the Olympics since Sydney 2000. Das and Chand will be a part of the team comprising of Archana Suseendran, Himashree Roy, Sneha PJ, and Diandra Valladares.
To qualify directly for the 4×100m relay in the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian sprinters will have to aim for a top-eight finish in Poland. If not, then the team should mark a top-16 finish in the global rankings to earn the Tokyo ticket.
What it means for Hima Das
Das was part of the Indian 4x400m mixed relay team that had won a silver medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018. This was the first time the event debuted at the Asiad. Recently, the medal has been upgraded to gold after one of the Bahrain athletes, the original winner, was found guilty of doping in July. This was Das' second gold medal. In later days, she was focused on 100m and 200m sprints because of her back injuries.
“There is no (back) issue when she runs the 100m. Thus her talent will be put to use in the shorter relay," Indian chief national coach Radhakrishnan Nair said, Sportskeeda reported.
Her past records
Last year, Das made it to the ‘Forbes India 30 Under 30’ list. She has also been appointed as the country’s first youth ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) India. Hailing from a small village in Dhing, Nagaon, Assam, Das in 2018 bagged a silver medal in the women’s 400m final of the Asian Games, clocking 50.79 seconds.
Here’s the list of Hima Das’ records in July 2019:
She proved her mettle again by becoming the first Indian woman to win gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships, in Tampere, Finland in 2018. During the track events, the sprinter earned India’s first-ever gold, clocking 51.46 seconds in the 400-metre women’s final.
Das was among the 20 recipients of the prestigious Arjuna award last year.
What it means for Dutee Chand
Rio Olympian Chand is the Asian Games silver-medallist and national record holder who won the 100m and 200m silver at Jakarta in 2018. She broke the national record in 100-meter sprint heats. At the National Open Athletics Championships in Ranchi in October last year, she bettered her personal best with a timing of 11.22 seconds. She went on to win a gold in the finals. Her previous national record was 11.26 seconds, which means she is now 0.04 seconds faster than she was at the Asian Athletics Championships in April last year. She needs to cut it to 11.15 seconds, the qualifying mark for the 2020 Tokyo Games. No Indian athlete has ever achieved 11.15s at 100m.
"There are half a dozen Indian sprinters who clock around 11.50 secs, while Dutee’s personal best is 11.22 secs. It is an advantage to achieve a top 16 global ranking by the end of June and become eligible to compete in the Olympics," Nair said.
However, according to Dutee, the personal best of the top six in the national relay squad is between 11.50 secs and 11.60 secs. “We have a young and new team. It’s good Hima is also there. Working as a team is what matters in a relay. All the sprinters are eager to perform and everyone is working hard towards the common goal of qualifying for the Olympics,” said Chand.
“We have been doing well in the relay for the past couple of years, but the current lot is super good,” she said. “All we have to do is combine as a unit to clock a good time. Something below 43 secs will be good,” she said.