Indian women’s relay team to compete Friday (Preview)

August 21st, 2008 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 21 (IANS) It will be India’s last chance to salvage prestige on the track event of athletics as the women’s 4×400m relay team get into action at the Beijing Olympics Friday.The showpiece track and field have seen pathetic performances from the Indians so far, with none of the competitors progressing beyond the first stage and none managing to replicate the performance they had come up with to make the cut for the big event.

The quartermile relay is the only event where the Indians are still left in fray, and the country would be looking forward to the chosen foursome among Mandeep Kaur, Chitra Soman, S Geetha, Sini Jose, M R Povamma and K Mridula to come up with a heartwarming performance.

The quarter milers could take inspiration from the country’s showing at the Athens Olympics four years back, where S Geeta, K M Beenamol, Chitra K Soman and Rajwinder Kaur came home in 3 minutes, 28.51 seconds to finish seventh in the final.

The Indians had come up with a similar show in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where the P.T. Usha-led team finished seventh after reaching the final.

However, if recent performances in the event are any indication, then getting a medal does not look within the realm of possibility. The relay team narrowly made the grade for the Olympics finishing 15th in 3:28.29 at the second leg of the Asian Grand Prix series in Korat, Thailand, where the top 16 teams qualifying for the quadrennial Games.

As per the competition format, three top finishers in each of the two heats plus two other teams with the best timings would move to Saturday’s eight-team final.

But in heat 1 Friday, where India would take part along with seven other teams, only the Japanese have a season’s best timing (3:33.21) poorer than the Indians.

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