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Usha hopes to toughen up Tintu Luka in Africa

Stan Rayan
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Tintu Luka.— Photo:S. Ramesh Kurup
Tintu Luka.— Photo:S. Ramesh Kurup

She has the Asian meet and the World championship coming up in July and August respectively, so Olympian Tintu Luka has decided to start her competitive season a little late this year.

The 800m national record-holder will skip all the three Indian Grand Prix meets, the first of which begins in Patiala on Sunday.

“She might start her season at the Federation Cup (in Patiala, April 23-26) or probably a little later with the Asian Grand Prix in Thailand and Colombo in early May,” said P.T. Usha, Tintu’s coach.

The 24-year-old has had a strong base over the last few months and Usha is confident that the young girl would break the national record of 1:59.17s by a good margin this season.

“She has a good build-up with her general endurance training and she should be in the 1:57 range this year,” said Usha.

Towards this goal, Usha hopes to enter Tintu in the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on May 18 and then compete in two meets in Africa.

“The Doha Diamond League does not have the women’s 800, so we plan to run her in Shanghai and then in two Africa meets, in Morocco and in Senegal in June,” said Usha.

Tintu will compete in the Mohammed VI international meet in the Moroccan city of Rabat on June 9 and then in the IAAF World Challenge event in Dakar (Senegal) three days later.

Usha hopes these meets would toughen up Tintu, a semifinalist who was close to her personal best in the London Olympics last year.

“African meets frequently have world-class distance runners, so the experience will be very useful for Tintu. These three top quality meets will do a world of good for her confidence as she gets ready for the Asian meet (in India in July) and the World championship in Moscow (August 10 to 18).”

Extending stay

Usha plans to extend her stay by a few days whenever she goes abroad for competitions this season. “Whenever we go abroad, to Shanghai and to Africa, we will stay longer and train for a few days there.”

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