Tintu Luka came a cropper on the global stage once again as she failed to qualify for the semifinals of the women’s 800m race after finishing sixth in her heat at the Rio Olympics here on Wednesday.
27-year-old Luka clocked a season’s best of 2 minute 00.58 seconds to finish sixth in heat number 3 and 29th overall out of a total 65 runners. She holds the national record of 1:59.17 which she created in 2010.
As usual she led the field till around 600m before fading on the final stretch to end her second Olympics campaign in disappointment. Only the top two finishers in each of the eight heats and the next best eight runners qualified for the semifinal round.
2015 World Championships silver medallist Melissa Bishop of Canada topped the heats in 1:58.39, followed by reigning world champion Marina Arzamasova (1:58.44) of Belarus and Habitum Alemu (1:58.99) of Ethiopia.
With Luka’s flop show on Wednesday, India’s disappointment in track and field events continued in the Games. Only Lalita Babar has been able to make it to the final round of the women’s steeplechase event.
Luka, a protege of track legend P T Usha, has rarely done well at the global stage since she made it to the senior level in 2009. She has done well only at the continental level, having won a bronze and a silver in the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games respectively.
Her best performance in either Commonwealth Games or Olympics, where athletics got to see some top participants, has been the sixth-place finish in the 2010 Delhi CWG.
Luka was 15th at the semifinal stage in the 2011 World Championships, 11th at the semifinal stage in the 2012 London Olympics, 15th in the heats in the 2013 World Championships, 11th at the semifinal stage at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 19th in the heats in the 2015 World Championships.