The Indian 4x400m women's relay team, led by Jauna Murmu, Ashwini Akkunji, Anilda Thomas and MR Poovamma, clocked 3.31.39sec to win the gold medal at the PTS Athletics Meeting in Samorin, Slovakia.
Only 16 countries are eligible to compete in the relay events of track and field at the Rio Olympics, and as a result of their performance in Slovakia last night, India has improved its 4x400m women quartet's world ranking to 15th position which is a step towards that goal.
As per the IAAF regulations, the 2016 OG qualification standards has to be attained between the period, January 1, 2016 to July 11, 2016.
The Samorin performance is the Indian relay quartet's second fastest timing and improves its average from two-fastest races to 3:30.24sec.
India's fastest time in the allotted period came in an earlier event in the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August, 2015 (3:29.08) through the quartet of Jisna Mathew, Tintu Luka, Debashree Majumdar and Poovamma.
The top-8 countries finishing in the IAAF World Relay Championships held in Bahamas in 2015 have earned automatic slots for Rio. The positions for 9-16 are being decided by calculating the average of the two fastest timings clocked by countries in the period earmarked by the IAAF.
In the Slovakia meet, the Indian relay team finished ahead of two teams fielded by the hosts, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. They are next scheduled to participate in Erzurum, Turkey, June 11-12.
In other events at Samorin, India's 400m hurdler Jithin Paul improved his personal best to 49.79 secs to finish second behind Britain's Jack Green (49.39s).
IMAGE: Ashwini Akkunji of India during a 4x100m relay event