Athletics Worlds: 3 finalists, 2 Oly quotas in mixed campaign for India

Doha: India’s campaign at the World Athletics Championships ended with Gopi Thonakal finishing 21st men’s marathon on Sunday. In what has been a campaign with mixed fortune for the Indian contingent overall, Asian champion Gopi clocked 2 hours 15 minutes and 57 seconds to end in the top half of the 55 runners who completed the race.

The temperature at the time of the race was under 29 degrees Celsius and the humidity was around 50 per cent as the marathon finished well past 12 am on Sunday morning. 73 runners started the race and 18 did not finish. The race was part of the Day 5 events.

Gopi’s season best has been 2:13:39, which is also his personal best, which he had clocked in Seoul in March. He had previously finished 28th in the 2017 World Championships and 25th at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was targetting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification mark of 2:11:30 going into the 2019 World Championships.

Earlier on Saturday, the Indian men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams both failed to reach the finals. The women’s team comprising Jisna Mathew, MR Poovamma, VK Vismaya and Venkatesan Subha clocked 3 minutes 29.42 seconds to finish sixth in their heat, while the men’s team made of Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas, K. Suresh Jeevan and Noah Nirmal Tom ran 3:03.09 to finish seventh in heat number 2 and 13th overall out of 16 countries.

In men’s javelin throw Shivpal Singh failed to reach the final with a best throw of 78.97m that left him 24th in the qualification round.

While the 27-member Indian contingent was not expected to win any medals, it produced three finalists in the mixed 4x400m relay, men’s 3,000m steeplechase and women’s javelin throw.

Out of these, steeplechaser Avinash Sable and the mixed 4x400m team secured Olympic quotas. Javelin thrower Annu Rani finished eighth and thus missed out on qualification.