New Delhi: Promising Indian middle distance
runner Tintu Luka ran her personal best of 2:00.79 to finish
eighth in the 800m race in the final leg of the Diamond League
series in Brussels, Belgium.
Luka, the protege of legendary Indian athlete P T Usha,
came up with a creditable performance in the race which was
taken part by top international athletes late last night.
The 19-year-old Kerala runner failed to run sub two
minutes which her coach Usha was expecting but had the
satisfaction of leading the 10-athlete filed till the 600m
mark which she completed in 1:28.75.
But she failed to preserve herself for the final stretch
of 200m, allowing seven of her competitors ran past her to
cross the finishing line.
Olympic and world championships silver medallist Janeth
Jepkosgei of Kenya, who is expected to be one of Luka`s
opponents in the October 3-14 Coomwealth Games here, won the
race in 1:58.82 while World Indoor and European champion
Mariya Savinova of Russia finished second in 1:59.49.
World champion South African caster Semenya, who has been
named in the South Africa`s team for the Commonwealth Games,
finished third with a timing of 1:59.65, her season`s best.
Semenya was recently given the green signal by the IAAF
to return to competitive running a year after her
controversial gender test during the World Championships in
Berlin in August last year.
Luka had also the satisfaction of finishing ahead of
Great Britain`s Jemma Simpson who finished ninth with a timing
of 2:01.13. Another Briton and European championships bronze
medallist, Jennifer Meadows, who had decided to skip the
Commonwealth Games, finished fifth, clocking 1:59.93.
Luka will next run in the VTB Continental Cup, formerly
World Cup of Athletics, on Septemebr 4 in Split, Croatia.
Top eight athletes, two from each of the four continental
groupings -- Asia Pacific, Europe, Americas and Africa -- will
take part in the top-flight event.
She is the leading athlete in Asian this season. She had
clocked her earlier personal best of 2:01.24 in the July 29-30
Asian All Star Athletics Meet in New Delhi, a test event of
the Commonwealth Games.