From a ticket checker to scripting history at World Athletics C'ships: Meet Rajesh Ramesh, India's hidden gem in men's 4x400 relay team

Sports    29-Aug-2023
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India's golden boy Neeraj Chopra scripted history at World Athletics Championships by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch gold at the prestigious record. It was definitely proud moment for India. However, India should be also proud of men’s 4x400m relay team which finished fifth in the final of the 2023 World Athletics Championships. Know why-
Rajesh Ramesh men's 4x400 relay team 
In the qualifying stage, the Indian men’s 4x400m relay team of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh clocked a new Asian record and progressed to the final at the event. They clocked 2.59.05s to finish behind the USA in a nine-team heat 1. The earlier Asian record of 2:59.51s was held by Japan. It also shattered the national record of 3:00.25, set by Muhammed Anas, Noah Nirmal Tom, Arokia Rajiv and Amoj Jacob at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Remarkably, Rajesh even momentarily outpaced USA's Justin Robinson in the anchor leg, leaving the world in awe of the Indians' extraordinary effort.
The journey of Rajesh Ramesh is an inspirational one! He had an early start in the field and even participated in the 2018 U20 World Championships. However, at such early age, his career experienced setbacks due to injuries, work commitments, and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was difficult to even imagine him participating at this level of competition seemed distant for Ramesh just a couple of years ago.
Born on March 28, 1999, Rajesh was stationed as a ticket checker in 2020 at the Trichy Railway Station, a job he himself admitted he was underperforming in.
But today, Ramesh stands as an inspiration, not only for his sportsmanship but also for his journey from a railway platform to a global athletics stage.
The 24-year-old athlete refused to be defeated. At the recent Federation Cup in Ranchi, Ramesh not only displayed exceptional prowess but also topped the 400m semifinals with a timing of 46.13 seconds, surpassing the Athletics Federation of India's Asian Championships qualification mark of 46.17 seconds.
The Tamil Nadu athlete also outperformed notable competitors such as Arokia Rajiv, the bronze medallist in the Asian Games, and Mohammed Anas Yahiya, the present national record holder and silver medallist in the 2018 Asian Games. This incredible feat serves as a testament to his dedication and the hard work he has invested in resurrecting his career.

Other members of the team

Ajmal hails from Palakkad in Kerala. He originally pursued a career in football before transitioning to become a 100m sprinter, a shift he made just two years ago. For Anas, his victory in the 400m individual event in June represented a triumphant return following a period of setbacks as he had dealt with COVID-19 and injury.
The recent Saturday night victory held special significance for Jacob, as confirmed by his father, P A Jacob. He expressed, "He was grappling with immense frustration. Despite investing immense effort, the outcomes weren't reflecting his dedication. He underwent some challenging times. Nevertheless, he has now found a superb team and is flourishing. I am profoundly satisfied with the remarkable progress he has achieved."