India’s leading quarter-miler Muhammed Anas Yahiya has replaced Rajesh Ramesh in the men’s 4x400m relay team for the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham starting on Thursday.
The men's relay quartet finished 12th out of 13 teams at the World Athletics Championships at Oregon earlier this month. Anchor Rajesh Ramesh ran a slow 48.30s as he was carrying a niggle. His personal best in the 400m is 46.09s.
“In the 4x400m men’s relay team, we have replaced Rajesh Ramesh, who has a minor injury and could not perform as expected at the world championships,” Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla said.
Muhammed Anas Yahiya, who was not part of the initial squad announced by the AFI last month, holds the national record in the 400m (45.21), the 4×400m relay (3:00.25) and the 4x400m mixed relay (3:15.71).
Muhammed Anas had bagged two silver medals and a gold at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta.
The 27-year-old Anas clocked 45.69s for silver in the men’s 400m. He achieved the second medal in the men’s 4x400m relay. The mixed relay silver medal was upgraded to gold as Bahrain’s triumphant squad was disqualified for failing a dope test.
Muhammed Anas missed the medal by a whisker at the 2018 Commonwealth Games by finishing fourth. But his efforts were recognised as he clocked 45.31s — a national record then.
The AFI was allowed to send 36 athletes for the Games but two sprint relay runners — S. Dhanalakshmi and M.V. Jilna — reportedly failed dope tests and were dropped from the women's 4x100m team.
Injuries to Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and Asian record-holder shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor reduced it to a 32-member squad.