Tintu Luka Rio bound, but no clarity on relay participation

Usha, who was in town as part of the selection committee at the National Finals of GAIL-Indian Speedstar – a venture to identify, select and train youngsters from across the country over the next four years in the 100m, 200m and 800m races – said Tintu was ready to run as part of the relay but there had been no information on the same from the AFI.

Her mentor PT Usha hasn’t made things easier, refusing to either confirm or deny the same.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Tintu Luka is all set to take the flight to Rio but while the runner has made the 800m all her own, there remains uncertainty on whether she would also be part of the 4x400m relay in the run up to Rio Olympics. Her mentor PT Usha hasn’t made things easier, refusing to either confirm or deny the same.

Usha, who was in town as part of the selection committee at the National Finals of GAIL-Indian Speedstar – a venture to identify, select and train youngsters from across the country over the next four years in the 100m, 200m and 800m races – said Tintu was ready to run as part of the relay but there had been no information on the same from the AFI.

“She ran once last season (at the World Championships in Beijing) and the team set a season’s best timing. If they want her to run, we are ready. She is already running under two minutes in her event so she is ready for running a single lap as well,” Usha said. Tintu has a personal best of 1:59:17 but that was way back in 2010 and has struggled to get below the two-minute mark this season. She has also not been with the relay squad in recent times.

However, Usha made her displeasure clear saying the relay team had already left for Poland to train and attempt to qualify without Tintu. The 27-year old is set for a spate of competitions in the 800m in the run up to Rio with races planned later this month – Prague (April 26), London (April 28) and Riga (April 30). “She would also like to participate in the Diamond League at Rome (May 2) provided the entry is accepted by the organisers,” Usha said adding that the previous plan of going to Germany was dropped since the timings there were over two minutes.

Meanwhile, six of the nine kids identified for training at the event were girls. Those selected include Tai Brahmane (200m, under-14), Sukhi Baskey (100m & 200m, under-14) Cynthia Francis (200, under-14), Sanika Nate (100, under-14), Maria Karachiwala (200, under-17) and Jisna Mathew (100, under-17) (all girls) and Nisar Ahmed (100, under-14), Nehal S (200, under-14) and Akshay Nain (200, under-17) among the boys.

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