Indian men’s 4×400 metres relay squad will look to avoid elimination and stay in contention for Tokyo Olympic Games at the Indian Grand Prix (IGP) IV which takes place on June 21 in Patiala.

“Inclusion of men’s 4x400m relay team in the IGP IV programme will give athletes a chance to improve their timing before the deadline of June 29. India’s world rank is 15 while top 16 teams are eligible to compete at the Olympics,” a national athletics coach told IANS.

The world ranking keeps fluctuating as and when national teams improve their performance in different competitions across the globe.

“Based on India’s performance of 3 minutes 02.59 seconds clocked in July 2019 in Turkey, the national team is in the top 16 world rankings. However, the current ranking is 15 — too close for comfort — and it is important to improve performance before the deadline of June 29,” added the coach.

Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Anas, Rajiv Arokia and Noah Nirmal Tom are the four key runners in the relay team.

According to one of the runners, since the gap between the men’s individual 400m race and 4x400m relay events at the IGP IV would be between 30-45 minutes, it won’t be possible for athletes shortlisted for the relay squad to compete in the individual event.

“The recovery time is very less. To post a good time in an individual event and then run a fast relay leg of the 4x400m event would be difficult,” said the athlete.

Baton exchange will be another key factor in the relay race to improve time.

“Any error in baton exchange could prove costly,” said the coach.

Athletes in the core group will get another chance to improve their ranking, during the National Inter-State Athletics Championships scheduled to be held in Patiala from June 25.

–IANS

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