Kolkata: Her protege Tintu Luka has already
broken the two-minute barrier in 800m and legendary PT Usha
feels the best is yet to come for the 21-year-old who can be a
bet for an Olympic medal that eluded the former track-queen in
the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Having returned from IAAF-VTB Bank Continental Cup at
Split (Croatia), where Tintu clocked 1:59.17 seconds to break
Shiny Wilson`s 15-year-old national record, Usha said she will
be happy if the young runner wins medal in Delhi Commonwealth
Games but would not pressurise for that as it is not the main
"I will be very happy if she wins a medal or features in
the finals in the Commonwealth Games.”
"But I don`t want to give her workload and put pressure
on her. Our target this year is the Asian Games gold medal,"
Usha told reporters.
Daughter of a mason from Valathod village near hilly
Iritty in Kerala`s Kannur district, Tintu has been under
Usha`s tutelage since 2002.
"Since she came to my academy, I am preparing her for the
London Olympics 2012 and further. Her progress graph has been
very significant and I am really happy after she went under
two (in Split).”
"She is capable of winning a medal at the Olympics," said
Usha, who missed a hurdles medal by 1/100th of a second at the
Los Angeles Olympics.
"We set target every year. This year has been going on
right track for Asiad (at Guangzhou in November). In about one
and half months time, I will start the speed work and then she
will be clocking 1:58.57," Usha said.
"She has to improve on her timing in the last 30 metres
which can be achieved by the speed work," she added.
About the CWG, Usha said Kenya`s Olympic silver medallist
and former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei appears favourite
in a field that also features South African controversial
runner Caster Semenya.
Usha was critical of Semenya and said, "In terms of
physical appearance, she is not a lady. By nature also Semenya
is like a boy. I don`t consider Semenya to be a big challenge
for Tintu... They both are level par."
Hailing Tintu`s performance at Split, Usha said they had
to go through a lot of hardships before landing there.
"There was just 50 minutes of time in between the
flights. We missed the flight from Zagreb to Split because of
this. We had a four-and-half hour bus ride to Split and landed
around midnight and the next day was the event.”
"I was worried as there was not much recovery time. But
despite all these she clocked her personal best," Usha said.
Usha, who runs a School of Athletics by her name near
Kozhikode, said she was concerned about the athletes testing
positive in National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) tests.
"This really worries me. We have to be very much careful
about the diet. My athletes do not take food from outside and
we are really cautious about it," she said.
As a matter of fact, Tintu, Asia`s best in the two-lap
race this year, eclipsed Shiny`s national record of 1:59.85
(1995 SAF Games in Chennai) to finish fifth in Croatia on