Tintu Luka is determined to get the World Championship qualifying mark in next week’s inter-State Nationals in Chennai.
“I got boxed in, on the inner lane in (at the recent Diamond League meet in Shanghai) China, there were athletes in front of me and by my side. I had to virtually check my stride with each step. But I should get that qualifying time in Chennai,” said the 24-year-old 800m runner, of the 2:01.50s mark (‘B’ standard) which she needs to get before July 29, to qualify for the Athletics Worlds in Moscow in August.
But it will not be easy.
“We don’t have anybody to push her. If she needs to clock 2:01, Tintu must have somebody to push her hard, somebody in the range of at least 2:03,” said her coach P.T. Usha. “Currently, we don’t have anybody in that range in our country.”
Usha now hopes that Tintu goes on a dominating solo run in the June 4-7 meet in Chennai and makes the ‘B’ standard (‘A’ standard: 2 mins).
“But it will be difficult. If she is running alone without being pushed, she will do something like 2:03,” she said.
Usha is hoping to get some African meets for Tintu soon after the Chennai inter-State meet, and they don’t work out, she might take her star middle-distance runner to some events in Europe to get the Moscow ticket.
The three recent Asian Grand Prix meets in Thailand and Colombo offered a golden chance for athletes like Tintu to slowly get into the groove, but with Athletics Federation of India stopping them as they did not compete in domestic meets, plans have now gone awry.
And this year, by stopping them from going for the ‘all-expenses-paid’ Asian GP meets, the AFI appears to have spoilt the chances of its biggest stars!