The Indian quartet, comprising Tamil Nadu-based Rajiv, Mohammed Anas, Hima Das and MR Poovamma, was named the winner as race topper Bahrain was disqualified. This was after Kemi Adekoya, a member of the Bahrain team, was handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for a failed dope test.
The level up means Rajiv has his first yellow metal at the quadrennial event, whose 2018 edition was hosted at Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia. “Prior to this, I had only silver and bronze medals to show (from the Asian Games). It was the first time that the 4x400m mixed relay was held at the Asiad.
According to me, clinching gold in it is something big. I am extremely happy,” Rajiv told DT Next.
“We had put in the effort (in the run up to the Games). I am delighted that our hard work didn’t go to waste,” he said. Following the race in 2018, India appealed against Bahrain for a violation during the final, but its effort went in vain. Rajiv asserted that India should have been handed the gold medal immediately after the race.
“Unfortunately, the ruling (post the final) didn’t go our way. However, we [Indian runners] are gold medallists. The official announcement came out only on Thursday night and I am yet to talk to my teammates regarding it,” added Rajiv, who also won a silver medal in the 4x400m men’s relay competition in the Indonesian capital.
The 29-year-old Rajiv, residing in his hometown Tiruchy, now has his eyes fixed on the Tokyo Olympic Games, which has been postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The rescheduled Games will be held between July 23 and August 8 next year in Japan.
“The ultimate objective is to do well at the Olympics. The national camp hasn’t been functioning for the last two to three months as a result of the lockdown. If things get better, I will be back on the track next month and start preparing,” he stated.