Poovamma elated as India’s 2018 Asian Games mixed relay silver upgraded to gold

The Indian mixed relay team had finished second behind Bahrain in the 4x400m mixed relay event at the 2018 Asian Games.

By Subhayan Dutta

The quartet of Mohammed Anas, M.R. Poovamma, Hima Das and Arokia Rajiv, who represented India at the 4x400m mixed relay event at the 2018 Asian Games, had its silver medal upgraded to gold on Thursday, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) confirmed.

The decision was taken after the Athletics Integrity Unit found Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya, who was part of the gold-medal winning team then, failed a dope test.

Consequently, the Bahrain squad has now been disqualified.

The 4x400m mixed relay event was introduced at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and the Indian quartet finished second with 3:15.71.

M.R. Poovamma had won a gold medal at the 4X400m women's relay event as well at the 2018 Asian Games 

“The news comes as a fillip to us as we are aiming to build on the Asian Games showing and make a mark at the global level in the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year,” AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said in a statement.

“The 4x400m relay squad will be particularly pleased that it now has two gold and a silver from Jakarta.

“We are confident that under coach Galina Bukharina’s guidance, the relay squad will perform well,” he further added.

After Mohammad Anas had given India a solid start to lead early on, M.R. Poovamma was unable to keep it in the second lap. However, Hima Das had made up for the lost time in the third leg before Arokia Rajiv sealed the silver medal for India.

Adekoya’s disqualification also meant that Anu Raghavan moved to third position and a bronze medal after she had her fastest time of 56.77 seconds in the 400m hurdles final.

Double gold for Poovamma

For Karnataka athlete MR Poovamma, this means a double gold feat at the 2018 Asian Games as she clinched the yellow metal with the women’s 4x400m relay team as well in Jakarta.

“It feels great to hear that we have a gold medal now,” MR Povamma told the Olympic Channel, “But had we won the race in Jakarta, it would have been a completely different feeling.

“I mean when the national anthem plays and you stand on the podium, you feel on top of the world. But yes, a gold is a gold.

“The problem with doping is that the results come late and this gold is something we were expecting,” added the 30-year-old, who had a gold and a bronze medal in 2014 Asian Games as well.

India’s athletics contingent had ended their 2018 Asian Games campaign with a whopping 20 medals.

India’s mixed relay team - comprising Mohammed Anas, VK Vismaya, Jisna Mathew and Noah Nirmal Tom - has booked a quota for the Tokyo Olympics as well after they qualified for the final at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships at Doha.