Pune: Quarter-miler Hima Das has taken a conscious decision to skip mixed-team relay at the forthcoming Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang.
After being listed in three disciplines in the final list of contingent announced by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), India’s fastest woman over one-lap race, national coach Basant Singh announced that Hima’s name will be withdrawn from mixed team relay.
The newly crowned World Under-20 400m champion, Hima, will now focus on individual sprint (200m and 400m) events.
The Assam girl is India’s fastest female quarter-miler with a personal best of 51.13 secs clocked in July in Guwahati.
“There is a clash of event timings and so Hima’s name had to be withdrawn from the mixed-team relay,” said Basant Singh.
“The gap between the 200m heats and mixed-team relay is short. Hence it will be difficult for one athlete to take part in both.”
India are defending champions in women’s 4x400m relay and the coach believes her presence in the team will make a big difference. “She will be anchoring the women’s relay,” he added.
The national 400m runners including members of the relay teams (men and women’s) are currently training in Jablonec in Czech Republic and will directly travel to Indonesia from Europe.
The group also includes the 400m hurdlers.
Aiming to break barriers
After an exhausting world meet in Tampere, Finland, where Hima ran three quality races including the gold-winning run of 51.46 secs, the teenager has got a short break from competitions.
“There is no injury worries but she has been given a break so that she can recover. With barely a month left for the Asian Games, we have also decided that Hima will avoid local competitions,” the coach said.
Coach also believes Hima would further improve her timing in Indonesia. “She might break the 51-second barrier in 400m and there are chances she might break the 23-secs barrier in the 200m,” he said. Hima’s personal best in 200m is 23.10 secs.
Manjeet Kaur has the 400m national record of 51.05 secs set in 2004 in Chennai. She is also the only Indian athlete to have clocked sub-50 secs at a relay leg during the semi-finals of the 2004 Athens Olympics.This weekend, Indian athletes will compete in a national track and field competition in the Czech Republic.