In a major setback to India’s Olympic Games preparation, the national women’s 4x400m relay team has pulled out of next month’s World Relays in Poland, said a source in the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Tuesday. “The team is unfit. The fastest runner in the squad, Anjali Devi, is yet to recover from an injury she had sustained in March,” the source told IANS, explaining the reason for skipping the World Relays.Also Read - 'No One Expected Us To Win'- Goalkeeper Savita Spill Beans On India's Heroic Tokyo Olympics Campaign

One of the athletes said: “Three main runners are unfit. And there is no substitute.” The World Relays, scheduled to be held on May 1 and 2 in Chorzow, is a qualifying competition for Tokyo Olympics as well as 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA. Also Read - Gyaneshwari Yadav’s Parents Ecstatic as She Wins Silver at Junior World Weightlifting Championship 2022

As if to further compound the national team’s misery, Jisna Mathew, another key runner of the women’s 400m relay team, has also pulled out of the World Relays. This month, the AFI had shortlisted six athletes for the 4x400m relay team. They were: MR Poovamma, Suhba Venkatesh, Kiran, Anjali Devi, R Revathi, VK Vismaya and Jisna Mathew. Also Read - PV Sindhu: Nobody Is Tough, Everybody Is Beatable

The AFI will, however, send men’s 4x400m and women’s 4x100m relay squads to Poland. During the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships, India’s mixed 4x400m relay team had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The AFI is hopeful the women’s 100m relay team would also make the cut during World Relays.

Top 16 relay teams at the end of the qualification period in June will be eligible to compete in the Olympics.