Indian @Rio Olympics 2016: Tintu Luka

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.

With a population of 1.2 billion people, India should have had many world class athletes by now. Athletes known for their amazing skills on the field, athletes who inspire people around the world. But reality speaks for something else. Indian athletics has always had many glimmering stars, stars who are expected by the entire nation to shine on the world stage, but more often than not, the expectations are never replicated into performances.

But one such rising star in the world of athletics in India is Tintu Luka who specializes in the 400m and 800m track events. Born on 26th April 1989 to Lukka and Lissy in Valathode, a small village in the Kannur district of Kerala, she did her schooling from St. Thomas HS Karikkottakary. She joined the Usha School of Athletics where she got trained under the legendary PT Usha.

Luka is the current national record holder in the 800m track. She came into limelight after winning the silver medal in the same category at the 2008 Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Jakarta. She rose to prominence after timing 1:59:17 in the 800m event to break Shiny Wilson’s 15-year-old record at the Continental Cup in Croatia. She also finished third to win a bronze medal in the 800m event at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China and gave an encore of her performance by winning another bronze medal at the Asian Championships in Japan the next year.

At the Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, in 2013, she finished third in the 800m event to take home a bronze, and also won the gold medal in the 4x400m relay event. Emulating her coach, she was conferred with the Arjuna award for Athletics in 2014.

At the Asian Games 2014, being held in Incheon, she clinched a silver medal in the 800m event, and also helped her team win a gold medal and set a record in the 4x400m event. In the recently held 55th National Open Athletics Championships, Luka created a new meet record as she finished first in the 800m track event with a timing of 2:00:56.

The year 2015 was bitter sweet for Luka. At the Asian Championships held in Wuhan, Luka finished first in the 800m race to finally win a gold medal with a timing of 2:01:53. Her team finished second in the 4x400m relay event, and she won a silver medal in the process. Her campaign in the World Athletics Championships was unsuccessful, though. She crashed out in the first round of heats of the women’s 800m race, by finishing seventh.

But, she qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics on the fifth day of the Championships, by clocking 2 minutes and 0.95 seconds, just crossing the Olympic qualification time of 2 minutes 1 second.

With a lot of hopes and expectations lying on this phenomenally talented athlete, she is not under much pressure and is training really hard to clinch a medal for India at the Olympics. Let’s wish Luka all the best of luck for her future endeavors on the track, and hope that she makes the country proud by finishing on the podium.

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