Indian star sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand, including the Indian athletic team, might miss the Olympic qualifying World Athletics Relays in Poland due to the suspension of the connecting flight to Amsterdam owing to the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Dutch government suspended flights from India effective Monday evening. The event has been scheduled to held on 1st and 2nd of May, 2021, at Chorzow in Poland.
Regards to the issue, the Athletics Federation of India president, Adille J Sumariwalla said, “We are very disappointed at this moment. There are no direct flights between Indian airports and Warsaw, Poland. This meant that despite the best efforts, the squad could not be rerouted on another airline.”
“There is a serious doubt that our team may not be able to take part in the World Relays. Many European countries have suspended flights from India. So, we may be stuck and there is a high possibility that the team may not go for the event. For the last 24-hours we have been consistently trying to find alternatives, we have used all the resources to sort this out, we have been constantly speaking to the Organisers, the World Athletics, various consulates and airlines to reroute them. Under the present scenario nobody has obliged,” he added.
S Dhanalakshmi, was also named in the team, along with Archana Suseendran, Himashree Roy and AT Daneshwari. S Dhanalakshmi had beaten Dutee in the final of women’s 100m sprint in the Federation Cup last month.
The Athletics Federation of India was hopeful of the women’s 4x100m relay team qualifying for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.
Besides all, India will also field teams in the men’s 4x400m in the event to be held in Chorzow, Silesia, in Poland. The Indian mixed 4x400m relay team has already qualified for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics after reaching the final during the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
The Indian women’s 4x100m contingent consists of top sprinters such as Hima Das, Dutee Chand, Dhanalaxmi Sekhar, Archana Suseentran, Daneshwari TA and Himashree Roy. Whereas the men’s 4x400m contingent consists of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Arokia Rajeev, Amoj Jacob, Nirmal Noah Tom and Sarthak Bhambri.
The World Relays will be the first major international event for Indian sprinters since the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha in April 2019.
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