New Delhi: Rising woman middle distance runner and a prodigy of the legendary P T Usha, Tintu Luka has got just the kind of build-up she wanted for the Commonwealth Games as she is taking part in the top flight VTB Continental Cup in Split, Croatia early next month.
Luka is taking part in the September 3-4 IAAF event for the first time in her career. This event was earlier known as the World Cup of Athletics.
Two best athletes of the season from four continental groupings -- Asia Pacific, Africa, Americas and Europe – will compete in each event. There will be 20 events in women’s section in the Continental Cup.
The other athlete, besides Luka, in 800m race from Asia and Pacific is Hamblin Nikki of New Zealand who has a best effort of 2:00.96 this season, the best in Asia Pacific.
Luka is the leading athlete in 800m race in Asia this season with her career personal best of 2:01.24 which she recorded last month in the All Star Athletics Meet here.
Usha is upbeat that her ward from the academy at Palakkad in Kerala will get a huge boost in her aim for a Commonwealth Games medal by taking part in the top flight event in Croatia.
“It is a top flight event among the best in the world. Only eight athletes will participate there. Luka is the number one Asian in 800m this season so far. It is going to give a huge boost to her confidence for the Commonwealth Games and other events coming up,” Usha told PTI from Kerala.
“I am hoping a sub two minute performance from Luka in Croatia. Most of the athletes there have timings in the bracket of one minute 58 sec or one minute 59 sec. So Luka will be competing among the best in the world,” she added.
A sub two minute performance could mean that Shiny Wilson’s 1:59.85 sec national record set 15 years ago could be in threat.
Usha said the main benefit from the Croatia event will be that Luka will be able to assess herself against the best in the world, especially in the second lap.