Four years ago, middle-distance runner Tintu Luka couldn’t go beyond the semifinals of 800m at the 2012 London Olympic Games. This time, her mentor PT Usha is hopeful of a better show.
Tintu will begin her Rio Olympic Games campaign with races on the European circuit. Usha has carefully picked events where the field is tough. “We will only compete in races were athletes will race below two minutes,” said Usha.
Tintu, the national champion in 800m, will compete in at least four races.
There was a proposal to compete in Germany, but the idea was dropped as the field wasn’t strong. Tintu’s first race will be at Prague, Czech Republic, on May 26. She will also compete in London on May 28, and Riga on May 30.
The stint might end with a race in the Rome Diamond League on June 2, said Usha on the sidelines of a promotional event on Thursday.
Tintu’s personal best is 1:59.17, set in 2010. In her decade-long career, she has managed to race below two minutes on two more occasions, including the Incheon Asian Games where she claimed silver.
This season, she hasn’t gone below two minutes, but Usha expects Tintu to eclipse her personal best.
Focus on 800m
While Usha wants her ward to focus on the two-lap race, Tintu is ready to compete in the 4x400m relay. “Whenever it was needed, she was there,” said Usha.
It isn’t certain if Tintu would compete in the relay races prior to the Olympics. The 4x400m women’s squad hasn’t qualified for the Olympics, and top 400m runners like MR Poovama and Anilda Thomas have gone to Poland for training. The team will compete in relay races in Europe to achieve the Olympic berth.