Team's plan was to stay close to US to earn Olympic qualification: Jacob

| | New Delhi
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Team's plan was to stay close to US to earn Olympic qualification: Jacob

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 | PTI | New Delhi

Determined to improve its time and qualify for the Paris Olympics, the Indian men's 4x400m relay squad had planned to shadow the formidable USA team at the World Athletics Relays, sprinter Amoj Jacob had revealed.

The Indian men's squad comprising Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Muhammed Ajmal, Arokia Rajiv and Jacob qualified for the Paris Games after finishing second in their heat at the World Athletics Relays in Nassau, Bahamas earlier this month.

The Indian quartet finished with a collective timing of 3 minutes and 3.23 with USA (2:59.95) expectedly topping the heat.

"We knew that we had the US in our Heats and they mostly run below 3 minutes. So, our plan was to stay close to them in the race, which will not only improve our time but also help us qualify for Paris Games," Jacob told SAI Media.

"Our target was to register a time between 3:00 and 3:10 so that our confidence is high going into the Paris Olympics," he added.

The Indian team was in third position when anchor-leg runner Jacob took the baton from Arokia. The Delhi boy ran a fantastic race to overtake his Mexican opponent and finish second.

India had failed to finish in the first-round qualifying heat after second leg runner Rajesh Ramesh pulled out midway due to cramps. Rajiv took the place of Ramesh in the team and he ran the third leg after Anas and Ajmal.

Asked how the team dealt with Ramesh's absence Jacob, said "It was easy because we were practicing together. And we had trained the baton exchange with different combinations. The only concern was to ensure that no one else got injured."

"In fact, it is easier than 100 meters relay where better coordination is required. So, it was an easy transition for us. And because Rajiv was with us for a long time, he was in the camp, he was our senior. So, he knew what to expect and what not. And it was easy only," Jacob added.

The 26-year-old added that reaching Bahamas a month before the competition helped the team acclimatise to the conditions well, which was key in securing Olympic qualification.

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