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Indian men's, women's 4x400 relay teams seal Rio spots

Both the Indian men's and women's 4x400 relay teams have sealed their Rio spots by virtue of finishing among the world's top 16.

The Indian men's 4x400 relay team put up their season-best performance and scripted a new national record in the third Indian Grand Prix at the Sree Kanteerava stadium in Bangalore on Sunday.

The quartet of P Kunhu Mohammed, Mohammed Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun and Arokia Rajiv clocked 3:00.91s and moved from 18th to 13th place in the qualifying order. The timing was an improvement upon their national record mark of 3:02.17 set in Eruzum, Turkey in June.

"We have practised very hard for the last one and a half years," Rajiv said. "We kept trying and it finally clicked."

While the women's 4x100m team anchored by Dutee Chand put up a rather off-colour show with a timing of 44.34s, the women's 4x400 quartet of Nirmala Sheoran, Tintu Luka, M R Poovamma and Anilda Thomas clocked 3:27.88 to move back into the 12th position after having slipped to 14th spot earlier.

Their timing went past that of India's 2014 Asian Games record of 3:28.68. The national record stands at 3:26.89.

While the teams that finished in the top 8 at the 2015 IAAF World Relays earned an automatic qualification, the remaining eight spots are determined by the average of the two fastest timings that teams clock between January and July 11 this year.

The top 16 position of the men's and women's 4x400 relay teams were confirmed after the conclusion of the European Championships in Amsterdam on Sunday.

With July 11 being the Olympic qualifying cut-off for track and field athletes, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had organised the Grand Prix in Bangalore to allow Indian athletes one last attempt at qualification. Some athletes will get another chance to cement a Rio berth on Monday.

In the men's shot put, barring Inderjeet Singh, none of the others even managed to breach the 19m mark. The Olympic qualifying norm for the event is 20.50. While Inderjeet, who has already qualified for Rio, heaved a throw of 19.85, way below his personal best of 20.65, Tejwinder Tur's 18.66 was the farthest throw the rest of the field put up.

Om Prakash and Jasdeep Singh finished with 18.64m and 18.58m respectively. In the women's triple jump too, both Shilpa Chacko and NV Sheena, were way off the qualifying norm of 14.15m. With 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary set to make his final bid for an Olympic berth on Monday, things could get interesting.

The only silver lining among the remaining competitions was V Neena's wind-aided leap of 6.57m in the long jump, the required norm being 6.70m in the women's long jump event.