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2 gold medals in 7 days: Indian women's relay team looking to surprise us in Rio 2016 Olympics

They remained in the hunt for a spot in the 2016 Summer Games.

 The women's 4x400m relay team after winning gold at the 2014 Asian Games 

India might have a long road to tread to be amongst the front runners in the medal tally at the world sporting and athletics events. But we are certainly on the right track.

The Indian women's 4*400 relay team have won two gold medals in consecutive events within a span of seven days.

They clocked 3:31.39 seconds to win gold at the PTS Athletics Meeting in Slovakia last week and exactly after 7 days the team bettered their performance with a time of 3:30.16 seconds to fetch another gold medal  at the International Sprint and Relay Teams Cup in Turkey.

Ranked 12th in the world now and arguably one of the most promising relay teams in the past few years, the girls remained in the hunt for a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Last week the quartet of Jauna Murmu, Ashwini Akkunji, Anilda Thomas, and MR Poovamma finished ahead of Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary. Now this improved-showing pushed us rank four places above the cut-off mark.

The Indian 4x400m relay team at the Samorin Meet, Slovakia

As per the IAAF regulations, the top 16 teams go to Rio and the qualification standards has to be attained between the period, January 1, 2015, to July 11, 2016. The finalists from last year’s World Relays in Bahamas have secured automatic entry, filling up the first eight spots. 

These women along with Jisna Matthews, Debashree Majumdar, and Tintu Luka have been the stars in South Asia.

In the 2016 South Asian Games, the women's relay team finished the race with a timing of 3:35.44 to win the gold. Last year, they recorded their fastest time (3:29.08) in the IAAF World Championships which took place in Beijing.

Not just that, India has been maintaining their stranglehold on the women's relay after winning the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. India has a rich legacy at the Asian Games where they are back-to-back champions for the last four editions. The team reached the 2004 Athens Olympics under the training of current foreign coach Yuri Ogorodnik.

India has been making an impact now at the world level. These achievements in the 'smaller' tournaments are a step in the right direction. In the long run, it will help India go a lot further and perform well at the Olympic level.

The Indian 4x400m relay team at the International Sprint and Relay Teams Cup

It was heartening to see Saina Nehwal getting the recognition she truly deserves after yesterday's Australian Open triumph on social media. Let's hope this team receives such appreciation in the near future.

India has a lot of untapped potential in athletics and with the right support and encouragement, it won't take us long to witness the first Olympic medal in this sport.

Till then let's give our athletes what is rightfully theirs - RECOGNITION!

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