Indian sprinter Tintu Luka and javelin thrower Annu Rani added to the country’s medal tally by winning silver and bronze respectively on an otherwise ordinary Day 12 in the track and field events of the Asian Games, in Incheon today.
Coached by Olympian PT Usha, Keralite Tintu once again showed her mettle in the 800m race to come up with her second-best career time and stand second on the podium.
But the unexpected bronze came from Rani, who broke her own national record when she stood behind two Chinese girls in the javelin throw.
India’s second runner in the two-lap race, Sushma Devi, also set a career-best time, but all the others flopped and the list included women’s 400m hurdles defending champion Ashwini Akkunji and seasoned triple jumper Mayookha Johny.
Tintu, the 25-year-old Kerala runner, led the field for most of the race before slipping behind Margarita Mukasheva of Kazakhstan. Clocking 1:59:19 seconds, she registered her career’s second-best time that was just 200ths of a second off her own national mark.
The Southern Railway athlete’s silver medal was the only white metal coming India’s way at the Asiad Main Stadium today and the country’s tally, with two days’ of action in athletics remaining, stood at 1 gold, 3 silver and 7 bronze.
Tintu later told reporters that she was happy to pick up the silver.
I am happy. It was a good completion and I ran the first lap fast. Usha (PT) had advised me to run the opening lap in 58.5 and I did it a second faster. Probably had I followed the advice I might have won, said the Kannur-born Southern Railway athlete.
Incidentally the time clocked by Tintu was better than 1:59.69 she had timed two years ago in the London Olympics while finishing one rung below Margarita (10th). It was also better than her bronze winning effort of four years ago in China.
The track was fast and the conditions were cool, she added.
Usha said that her ward ran a bit faster in the opening lap than she wanted.
I am happy with her timing, but I wanted her to win the gold. She needs more such competitions. I would be happy if she gets more international exposure, said the former Asian one-lap queen.
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