India began their campaign in the World Athletics Championships on a disappointing note with sprinter Dutee Chand and quartermiler Muhammed Anas Yahiya crashing out in the first round heats in London on Saturday. Swapna Barman figured among the bottom heap in the seven-event heptathlon on the second day of competitions. Dutee, who got a quota entry despite failing to come up with the qualification standard, finished sixth in heat number five of the women's 100m first round after clocking a below-par 12.07secs.
The Odisha girl's performance was well below her season's best of 11.30 seconds though the track was a bit damp after light rain lashed the Olympic Stadium during the women's 100m first round and the temperature also dropped below 20 degree Celsius. She finished 38th overall among 47 athletes.
It was always going to be tough for the 21-year-old Dutee against a top class field in this global event. There was an outside chance of making it to the semifinals and her performance would disappoint all those who have been racking her career.
Dutee, who ran at lane number six, said she got nervous due to the disqualification of German athlete Tatjana Pinto, who was at the adjacent lane number five, for a false start. The Indian also had a slow start as her reaction time was 0.174 secs, the sixth worse among the seven competitors.
"The girl next to me was disqualified due to a false start and I got nervous. I could not come out of the blocks as fast as I would have wanted, so the timing was poor. The temperature was also cold. I had run with better timings in India because at this time the temperature there (in India) is more suited. I need a bit of warm temperature," she said after her race.
Dutee did not touch the qualifying standard of 11.26 secs during the qualification period but later got a quota entry on the basis of her season's best of 11.30 secs as the total number of participants in the women's 100m dash did not reach the targeted 56 in that event.
"I should have been told early that I may qualify for this World Championships and I would have done a better preparation. They told me at the last minute that I will get a quota entry. After the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar, I did not take part in the National Inter-State Championships in Guntur as I was not well. I was not doing proper training," she said.
Gina Luckenkemper of Germany topped the field leading into the semifinals with 10.95 seconds while Marie-Josee Talou and Murielle Ahoure, both from Ivory Cost, followed with 11.00 secs and 11.04 secs respectively. Reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica also went into the semifinals in fifth place with a timing of 11.05 secs.
All the top three in the six heats and six other best finishers qualify for the semifinals.
In the men's 400m first round, Anas' was at the final heat (number six), and he needed either to be in the top three or run better than 45.70 secs to qualify for the semifinals.
The 22-year-old Kerala athlete ran a season's and personal best of 45.32 secs in mid May in New Delhi but he could not replicate that feat here, clocking 45.98 secs to finish fourth in his heat. Overall, Anas finished 33rd among the 52 competitors.
Anas came out of the blocks in good time of 0.155 seconds, the third best among the seven competitors, but lagged behind the others after the first 100m.
"I could have been in the top three but lost the chance in the final 300m. I was running good in the first 100m but could not maintain the momentum. Now I will have to do well in the relay (men's 4x400m)," he said after the race. "I am disappointed. Now I hope to do well in the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year."
Botswana's medal contender Isaac Makwala was leading the semifinal qualifiers with a time of 44.55 seconds while reigning Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa won his heat with the 16the best time of the first round, leading into the semifinals.
The third Indian in the fray on Saturday, Swapna Barman finished 27th overall out of 31 competitors in her first event, 100m hurdles, with a 14.14 secs timing and then failed to live up to expectations in her strongest event - high jump.
Barman, who has a season's and personal best of 1.87m which she achieved while winning gold in the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar, could only clear 1.71m. She collected 959 points from the 100m hurdles and another 867 from high jump for a total of 182 points to be at 27th spot after two events.