In an exhilarating race lasting 2 minutes and 59.05 seconds at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the Indian 4×400 meter relay quartet comprising Muhammed Anas, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi, and Rajesh Ramesh elevated themselves to household names.

This unsung relay squad achieved more than breaking the Asian record; they secured a spot in the World Championship final, a historic first for India. Finishing fifth with another sub-3-minute run, they showcased their mettle on the global stage.

Notably, the Americans clinched the relay title on Sunday, and despite some disappointment in the finals, India’s remarkable performance in the heats, where they came second to the USA and set a new Asian record, stood as a remarkable achievement.

Rather than succumbing to pressure while facing the Americans in the heats, the Indian team ran an exceptional race. Commentators celebrated the unexpected outcome and the significant challenge posed to the US team.

An enduring image, though fleeting, featured Ramesh overtaking American Justin Robinson in the final leg, an iconic moment that resonated in Indian sports. Robinson had to push back Ramesh, who was fiercely competing for the lead.

“Since 2016, we were expected to run 2:59 but it never happened. It happened today,” shared Anas, reflecting on their remarkable performance. The team’s coach, Jason Dawson from Jamaica, had assigned a simple yet demanding target: to stay just behind the lead runner.

All four athletes were driven to prove their mettle. Despite being one of the stronger Asian-level teams, the 4×400 meter relay squad had not enjoyed recent successes. No medals at the Commonwealth Games, no final qualification at the previous year’s World Championship, and no gold at the recent Asian Championship. However, they defied expectations on the grandest stage in Budapest.

Also Read: Soilless Farming Soars Farming Revolution,PAU’s Hydroponics Patent Transforms Agriculture.

World Athletics Championships 2023: India's 4x400 Relay Team's Memorable Run

From the youngest member, 23-year-old Ramesh from Tamil Nadu, to the oldest, 28-year-old Anas from Kerala, each had their unique journey. Anas, an Asian Games silver medalist in the 400 meters, had faced setbacks due to form loss and injuries.

Ramesh’s career had been tumultuous, marked by injuries, work commitments as a railway station ticket collector, and the challenges of the pandemic. Jacob, aged 25, had grappled with injuries since the 2018 Commonwealth Games, even considering quitting the sport at one point.

Ajmal, also 25, transitioned from football to the 100m sprint before embracing the one-lap race just two years prior. Anas’s gold in the 400m individual event at the Bhubaneswar Interstate Meet marked his comeback, overcoming setbacks due to injuries and the pandemic.

The historic run in Budapest brought redemption for Jacob, reflecting his father’s joy for his son’s journey from struggle to triumph. The national coach, Premanand Jayakumar, lauded the team’s breakthrough in breaking the mental barrier of sub-3 minutes. He praised their grit and determination, emphasizing that this marked a significant moment for Indian athletics on the global stage.

As a final note, the team’s time in Budapest was facilitated by the Athletics Federation of India’s decision to send them 20 days in advance, allowing for acclimatization and fresh legs. Amidst exhaustion after the race, Ramesh’s determination and the team’s collaborative spirit shone through.

The Indian 4×400 relay team’s performance etched an unforgettable chapter in India’s athletics history, demonstrating unity, perseverance, and the power of the collective spirit on the world stage.

Also Read: India’s Gateway to the Stars, Satish Dhawan Space Centre’s Boundless Space Odyssey.

The DOERS stories are powerful and important. Join now!