Indian campaign in athletics continued to disappoint with the race walkers finishing way below their personal best, while the men’s team was disqualified in the 4x400M relay and women finished seventh and also failed to make the cut for finals at the Rio Olympics here.
The women’s team of Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Luka, M R Poovamma and Anilda Thomas clocked three minutes 29.33 seconds to finish just above Cuba in Heat 2 in a field of eight teams.
Worse was in store later in the evening when the men’s quarter-mile quartet of Muhammed Puthanpurakkal, Muhammad Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun and Rajiv Arokia finished with a ‘disqualified’ tag for wrongful takeover outside their zone as per rule 170.19.
“Our inexperience let us down. We tried to pass well but the final takeover was not fine,” Rajiv said.
Earlier in the afternoon yesterday, Sapna Punia, who has a personal best of 1:33.56, had a ‘DNF’ tag after failing to cross the finish line in the women’s 20km walk where Asian Games silver medallist Khushbir Kaur clocked one hour 40 minutes and 33 seconds to take the 54th place among 63.
Khusbir’s timing was way behind her personal best of 1:33.07 that had earned the country a second place at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014.
In the men’s 50km walk held in the morning, Sandeep Kumar, who had a fourth place finish at the Asian Games, clocked a poor four hours, seven minutes and 55 seconds to end 35th among 49, and his timing was 26 minutes 57 seconds behind gold medallist Matej Toth of Slovakia.
The Army man from Haryana was nowhere close to his personal best of 3:56.22, a national record he had set in the IAAF Race Walking Team Championship in Taicang, China two years ago.
In athletics India now have three marathoners left in the fray — Nitendra Singh Rawat, Kheta Ram and Gopi Thonakla as they compete on the concluding day of the Games tomorrow.