LUCKNOW: The 59th Inter-State Athletics Championship came to a dramatic end here at the PAC Athletics Stadium on Friday. All focus on the last day was on the men’s relay team who had come down from Czech Republic to qualify for the World Championships in Doha. However, luck was not on their side on Friday as the main team comprising of Amoj Jacob, Noha Tom, Alex Antony and Muhammed Anas could not achieve the qualification mark due to an unfortunate hamstring injury for Antony.
The A team fielded by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) looked confident ahead of the race. However, after Antony pulled his hamstring, Anas, who ran the fourth and final leg, took the baton from the AFI B team leading to them not finishing the race. The elite quartermilers will now have to wait till the Indian Grand Prix VI on September 5 to find out their Worlds fate. On Thursday, Antony won the men’s 400m final with a timing of 46.17 seconds. But the Kerala athlete was yet to recover fully from the race and the weather in Lucknow also did not help him.
Anas was the only athlete among the four to have produced a competitive timing during his training stint in Europe and the athlete from Kerala was dejected as they were not able to achieve their target. “We came down from Czech Republic to better the timing that we achieved during the Asian Games last year. But unfortunately, Antony got injured. It was not exactly an ideal situation and I just wanted to complete the race. I knew that we would be disqualified. But I still got the baton from the B team. Now, we will have to wait till the Grand Prix and see what happens,” Anas said.
The standard of the Championship was below par from Day 1 and apart from those who had already qualified, only Anjali Devi managed to achieve the timing for Worlds as she bagged gold in the women’s 400m final on Thursday. Earlier Dutee Chand bagged gold in the women’s 100m final with a timing of 11.83s. While the timing was not enough to qualify for Worlds, the Odisha athlete might still go to Doha because of her world ranking. “I was not able to recover fully after the semifinal yesterday.
But I have the ranking. I am also participating in the Grand Prix. So I think I can get my timing there,” Dutee said after the race. M Sreeshankar, who also qualified for the Worlds with a leap of 8.20 at the Open Nationals in Bhubaneswar last year, was not able to produce a good performance befitting his ability. However, he bagged gold with a jump of 7.83m.