The Indian 4x100m women’s relay team shattered the 18-year-old national record as they finished in 4th position at the IAAF World Challenge, in Beijing on Wednesday.
The 4x100m women relay team comprising Merlin Joseph, Srabani Nanda, Dutee Chand and HM Jyoti and clocked 44.03s to finish the race, smashing the 18-year-old record of 44.43s created by the quartet of PT Usha, Saraswati Dey, EB Shyla and Rachita Mistry, on July 22, 1998, in Fukuoka, Japan.
The host country of the IAAF World Challenge clinched the first and the position, and Japan grabbed second place. China A Team finished the race in just 42.65 seconds and won the Gold medal, while the Japanese eves clocked 43.81 for their silver medal. China B team took 43.89 seconds to finish their 4 x 100m race and eventually got the third place winning the Bronze medal.
Merlin Joseph, who suffered a confidence-shattering blow two years ago in Ranchi at the National meet, started the race for the Indian 4x100m women’s relay team. Jyoti, the informed sprinter and the mother of a 4-year-old girl, took the baton from Merlin followed by the two best sprinters in the country, Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand ran the anchor leg.
This performance in Beijing is the massive improvement for the Indian 4x100m women’s relay team. The ladies team clocked 44.92s as the season’s best performance of 2015 and finished their race in 45.72s at the Asian Athletics Championships in Wuhan last year.
Despite their gallant effort, the ladies have not secured the qualification berth for the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016. To fulfil the criteria to qualify for the Olympic Games, the team will have to run in the range of 43.45 seconds or faster to be able to finish in the top-16 in the world.
But this result will motivate the Indian Olympic Organization officials who were foreseeing the women’s 4400 meters event a more realistic dream to achieve for and shifted their entire focus on that event. The Indian women’s 4 x 100m team will now fly to Taiwan for their next challenge on Thursday early morning at the Taiwan Open Athletics Championships 2016.