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4x400 team breaks Nat. mark, enters final

Last updated on: August 28, 2004 00:37 IST
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India qualified for the final in the women's 4 x 400 metres athletics relay at the Athens Games on Friday, finishing third in the second heat, which was won by the United States.

Greece finished second.

In qualifying, the quartet of Rajwinder Kaur, K M Beenamol, Chitra K Soman and anchor Manjit Kaur established a new national record of 3 minutes, 26.89 seconds, eclipsing the previous best of 3:27.35 seconds, set in the Asian Grand Prix meet in Colombo in June earlier this year.

India's time, however, was the slowest of all the qualifiers.

The Americans timed 3:23.79 seconds while Greece 3:26.70s.

The final which will held on Saturday.

Manjit Kaur ran a scorching last leg after receiving the baton in fifth place from third runner Chitra to anchor India to third place.

This is only the second time that India made it to the final of the 4x400m relay after the P T Usha-anchored squad achieved the feat in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

India were given a flying start by Rajwinder, who came from behind to hand over the baton to Beenamol in second place.

Beenamol maintained the pace and handed the baton to Chitra, who ran a poor third leg which saw India slip to fifth place going into the last lap.

But Manjit, the national record holder in the 400m, made up for Chitra's sluggishness as she powered past her fancied rivals from Europe to put India into the final.

Other teams in the heat, in the order in which they finished, were Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Ukraine and Senegal.

From the other semi-final, Russia, Jamaica and Poland qualified.

The timings of the six qualifiers:

Russia 3:23.52 Season Best

USA 3:23.79

Jamaica 3:24.92 Season Best

Poland 3:25.05 Season Best

Greece 3:26.70

India 3:26.89 National Record.

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