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'It was good that we went a month earlier,' says Amoj Jacob after qualifying for Paris Olympics in Bahamas

Published at :May 28, 2024 at 1:40 PM
Modified at :May 28, 2024 at 1:41 PM
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(Courtesy : SAI Media)

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Indian men’s relay team qualified for the Olympic after clocking 3:03.23.

The Indian men’s 4x400m relay team comprising Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Muhammed Ajmal, Arokia Rajiv and Amoj Jacob clocked 3:03.23 to secure its berth in the  Paris Olympics competition. The quartet finished behind the United States of America in Olympic Qualifying Round 2 of the World Relays Championship in Nassau, The Bahamas.

Coached by Jamaican Jason Dawson and financially supported by Sports Authority of India (SAI), the team reached The Bahamas a month ahead of the event to acclimatise itself . And the results are for everyone to see.

In a freewheeling chat with SAI Media, Amoj Jacob, who ran the anchor leg, talks about qualifying for Paris 2024 and the team’s magical show in last year’s World Athletics Championships when it broke the sub-3-minute mark twice in finishing fifth.


How much of a difference did the month-long stay in the US and the Bahamas help?

The acclimatisation in the Bahamas was very useful. The time zone difference would have made things difficult for us. We were unable to sleep or recover well. It was good that we went a month earlier. And we were all ready for the competition two weeks prior. Then we worked out and got there and qualified.

How do you define the experience of qualifying for Paris 2024?

The experience was really good as last year we clocked sub-3 minute times. Our target was to register a time between 3:00 and 3:10 so that our confidence is high going into the Paris Olympics. We reached Bahamas a month prior to the World Relays, thanks to Sports Authority of India and Athletics Federation of India.  Other teams had reached Nassau just a week ahead of the event.

My body took almost a week to adapt to the weather conditions and time difference there. I was sleeping in the afternoon and not being able to sleep at night due to the time zone change.  The entire team encountered the same problem and it was good that we reached Bahamas a month earlier. However, looking at the same beach every day did get boring.

Our main target was to qualify for Paris 2024. It was unfortunate that Rajesh Ramesh suffered a hamstring injury in the Olympic Qualifying Round 1. Else, the team could have comfortably clocked below 3-minute time. Despite the setback, we were able to book our berth for Olympics. That is highly motivating.

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How did the team to adapt to Rajesh Ramesh’s absence with injury?

It was easy because we were practicing together. And we had trained the baton exchange with different combinations. The only concern was to ensure that no one else got injured. In fact, it is easier than 100 meters relay where better coordination is required. So, it was an easy transition for us. And because Rajiv was with us for a long time, he was in the camp, he was our senior. So, he knew what to expect and what not. And it was easy only.”

After the Budapest high, how did you deal with the pressure of expectations?

There was no such pressure now but it was immense pressure during the World Championships final and in the Asian Games. We knew that we had the US in our Heats and they mostly run below 3 minutes. So, our plan was to stay close to them in the race, which will not only improve our time but also help us qualify for Paris Games.

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