Star sprinters Hima Das and Duty Chand may miss the Olympic qualifying World Relay relays in Poland on May 1st and 2nd, as the Indian team’s connecting flight to Amsterdam was halted after a record jump in the country’s COVID-19 case.
The women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m relays were scheduled to board KLM’s flight to Amsterdam in the wee hours of Thursday, but the Dutch government suspended flights from India on Monday night.
The Athletics Federation of India is trying to book an alternative flight to each European city en route to Silesia in Poland, where the event will take place. There is no direct flight to Poland from India.
“There is a serious suspicion that our team may not be able to participate in the World Relay. Many European countries have suspended flights from India. So, we may be stuck and there is a high probability that the team will not agree to an event,” he told PTI Senior AFI Officer.
“But we still try, talk to the government and our embassies, if they can help our athletes fly to any European city like Frankfurt, from where they can continue to Poland. We also try for every connecting flight to Dubai. or another West Asian city. “
S Dhanalakshmi, who beat Dutee in the women’s 100m sprint final of the Federation Cup last month, was also named to the team, along with Archana Suseendran, Himashree Roy and AT Daneshwari.
India will also lead the men’s 4x400m in the event, which will take place in Chorzow, Silesia, Poland.
The top eight teams in the world relay will automatically qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The women’s 4x400m relay was withdrawn from the event as more than two members were unfit.
The Indian 4x400m relay team has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after reaching the final at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
AFI was hoping for the women’s 4x100m relay team to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The World Relay will be the first major international event for Indian sprinters since the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha in April 2019.