HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014
Luka stays on track, makes it to the 800m semi-finals
HT Correspondent & Agencies, Hindustan Times
London, August 08, 2012
First Published: 16:42 IST(8/8/2012)
Last Updated: 02:12 IST(9/8/2012)

Former India sprint queen PT Usha's protégé, Tintu Luka, qualified for the women's 800m semifinals in the Olympic Games, finishing third in one of the heats on Wednesday.

Luka timed 2:01.75secs to finish behind defending world champion Mariya Savinova (2:01.56) of Russia and Alice Schmidt (2:01.65) of the United States in heat number 2.

The top three in each of the six heats and the best six others move into the semifinals, to be held on late Thursday.
Luka, who started in lane number 4, was running at second for some time, but at the beginning of the home stretch, she drifted back to fourth, and, for a moment it seemed she would not get automatic qualification for the semifinals.

Close finish
But the 23-year-old barely managed to overtake Malika Akkaoui (2:01.78) of Morocco with a desperate lunge at the finishing line to finish third.

Luka was slightly slower compared to her season's best of 2:01.09, and she will have to shave off a few seconds from Wednesday's effort if she wants to qualify for the finals.

Luka, who has a personal best of 1:59.17, clocked the 13th best time in the heats, going into the semifinals, which will be competed by 24 runners. Wight of them will then make it to the final round.

American Johnson Montano Alysia, fourth in the world championships in Daegu, South Korea last year, led the heats timings with 2:00.47, ahead of defending champion from Kenya Pamela Jelimo (2:00.54) and former world champion Caster Semenya (2:00.71) of South Africa.

Meanwhile, discus thrower Vikas Gowda could not live up to expectations, finishing a dismal eighth in the final round of discus with an effort of 64.79m.

Gowda, 29, had qualified for the final with a throw of 65.20m, but couldn't cross 65m when it mattered most.

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Australia 49 42 46 137
Canada 32 16 34 82
Scotland 19 15 19 53
India 15 30 19 64
New Zealand 14 14 17 45
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Nigeria 11 11 14 36
Kenya 10 10 5 25
Jamaica 10 4 8 22
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