With only a day to go to seal the final list of Olympic-bound athletes, Indian sprinters are racing against time to either meet the qualifying mark or run a good enough race to climb up the ranks which in turn would secure their Tokyo berths.
Two female Indian athletes who’ve managed to grab headlines for most of 2021 are Dutee Chand and Hima Das. They continue to keep India on edge over their qualification status for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
It was yet another episode of heartbreak at the Inter-state Athletics Championships. While Hima Das pulled out of the 100m and 200m events owing to an untimely injury, right after running a decent 4x100m relay leg, Dutee Chand disappointed after finishing fourth in the finals of 100m, clocking 11.62s.
Their respective results fell short of securing the direct qualification mark for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. While Hima’s last best timing of 22.88s in the Indian Grand Prix 4 missed matching the 200m qualifying mark by 00.08 seconds, Dutee’s record-breaking 11.17s (in the 100m dash) effort fell short by a mere 00.02 seconds. However, there’s still hope for Dutee Chand to make her second appearance at the Summer Games next month.
Dutee can still make it to Tokyo despite missing the qualification mark
India’s current fastest sprinter, Dutee Chand, recently finished fourth in the women’s 100m final at the ongoing 60th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships. It was her last race to secure a direct Olympic qualification spot.
However, she clocked 11.17s only a week earlier in Patiala. Adding that to her account of brilliant performances in the recent past, has currently placed her at the 42nd rank in the world.
The Olympics accept a total of 56 participants in the women’s 100m event. This pool is usually a mix of directly qualified athletes based on their timing and athletes who do not meet the standard mark but are ranked within the qualifying bracket. Fortunately for Dutee, her overall position of World No. 42 is well within the ranks to make her eligible to fly to Tokyo next month.
Can more be merrier for Team India?
Even though one Olympic spot is guaranteed, Dutee & co’s place in the women’s 4x100m relay at the Olympics hangs by a thread.
The Indian women's 4x100m relay team is currently ranked 20th in the world. Since only the top 16 teams qualify through the rankings system, they will have to produce an almost impossible run of 43.05s tomorrow to be able to make the contingent headed to Tokyo.
To make matters worse, it is unlikely that the 400m national record holder Hima Das will be fit enough to compete. Running the women’s 4x100m relay in the given time and climbing up to 16th position in the world rankings is the only possible way by which the Indian quartet can book their tickets to Tokyo.
Hima Das recently switched from the 400m event to the 200m dash. This means that she is yet to break into the top 50 in the world rankings and it has left her hopes of participating at the Olympics hanging by a thread. If the relay team fails tomorrow, that will be the end of her Olympic dream until 2024.