The fifth day of the World Athletics championships had mixed results for the Indian team, with Tintu Luka crashing out of the 800 metres event. The women’s 3000 metres steeplechase event however was a source of pride, with Lalita Babar finishing eighth.
Tintu Luka – Qualifies for Rio
The ghosts of many past international competitions are back to haunt Tintu Luka it seems. In trademark Luka style, India’s leading track and fields athlete was leading ahead of the others in the initial stages of the race, but lost out in the final stretch. The 26-years-old, who had earlier this year won the Asian Athletics championship, did however finish with her best performance of 2:00.95 seconds. Luka, who was unlucky to be paired in a strong group along with the likes of Marina Arzamasova, Lynsey Sharp and Caster Semenya in the first heat group (all three topped the qualifications table), had it a bit tough, given that the top 3 runners in two of the other five heats finished with worse timings. Unfortunate, indeed, but not an excuse though. The Keralite would, however, gain some redemption from the fact that the run helped her book a place in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Lalita Babar makes her mark at the world stage
In the 3000 metres steeplechase event, Lalita Babar finished a commendable eighth, clocking 9:29.64 seconds. Though the 26-years-old National champion was leading in the initial stages (at both the 1000 metres and 2000 metres marks), she lost out to Kenyan Hyvin Jepkemoi (9:19.11). Lalita Babar ran a courageous race and became the first Indian to finish in the top eight of a World Athletics track event. A very commendable achievement indeed.
In the 200 metres semi-finals, both Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin led from the front in their respective heats’, with the American finishing with timings that were better than Bolt (19.87 over Bolt’s 19.95). With the finals scheduled to end the evening proceedings, Day 6 promises to be enthralling.
In other results, the men’s 400 metres final saw some intense competition, with South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk becoming the fourth-fastest 400 metres sprinter of all time and second fastest in the championships’ history, clocking 43.48 seconds to take gold. He was followed by American Lashawn Merritt, who put in a personal best of 43.65 seconds, and Kirani James took Bronze for Grenada, with a seasonal best timing of 43.78 seconds.
Kenya sits on top of the table with 11 medals (6 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze), while Great Britain follows on second place with 3 medals and Jamaica in third position also with 3 medals. For more from Beijing’s Bird Nest, stay tuned to Sports Rediscovered.