The Indian 4x400m men’s team ran a blistering 2-minute 59.05 seconds run to qualify for the finals of the World Championships for the first time in history and rewrote the Asian record of 2:59.51s held by Japan. The Indian quartet of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh ran the historic race to finish second in their heat behind USA (2:58.47).
Rajesh Ramesh, who worked as a ticket collector at Trichy in 2018, ran the anchor leg and almost overtook his American counterpart. He was nudged physically by the USA runner who didn’t want to budge.
Mohammed Anas, the 400m national record holder, gave India a good start as the rest of the runners kept the tempo up.
Amoj Jacob, who has been plagued with injuries since the 2018 Commonwealth Games, would be a relieved man. As Amoj and the rest took to the field in Budapest his family were fervently praying that the race goes well.
Amoj’s mother Mary Kutty, the head nurse at the Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, was naturally ecstatic to see her son on the big stage. Mary was so happy that she was at a loss for words. “What can I even say? It feels amazing to see my son do so well. He has a tough time. You should talk to his Dad, he speaks well,” Amoj’s mother said before passing the phone.
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Amoj’s father, who now keenly follows athletes, felt the Indian relay team has finally arrived on the big stage. “We have a world-level team now. I am expecting them to run even better. Every runner performed well. After the CWG he has been really frustrated cause he could not bag even a single international medal. Even at the Asian Championships, he did not run that well. But today he must be happy. So are we,” said Amoj’s father.
Rajesh Ramesh, who ran the anchor leg, was the standout performer on Sunday. It’s hard to fathom that in 2018 he almost quit sports entirely and worked as a ticket collector in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. The Federation Cup at Ranchi in May this year was his comeback event where he showed his mettle beating seasoned runners for the title.
“He has great potential and I can tell you that he is among the handful who we expect to run below 45 seconds by the end of this year. He has a smooth-running technique that almost looks effortless. He also has a great presence of mind and has learnt the art of pacing his race. He has also benefited from training with the best athletes in the camp,” coach Raj Mohana MK had said after his race in May.