Tintu Luka hungry for top-class events

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Tintu Luka’s experience at the London Olympics has transformed her from a media-shy middle distance runner to one who is eager to explain what she needs to achieve her goals.

In her first-ever interview post-Olympics to a newspaper, the P.T. Usha protegee, who clocked a season best of 1:59.69 seconds in the Olympics 800 m semifinal, talks about her experience at the meet, her future and the challenges she faced during the Olympics preparations.

Excerpts from the interview:

How would you rate your experience while running with world-class athletes including Mariya Savinova and Caster Semenya?

A: Both the heats and the semifinal were some of the best competitive runs I have had until now.

Though I’ve run with these athletes at previous international meets, I got a better chance to interact with them.

All of them were very supportive and congratulated me after the race. Moreover, running with these athletes helped me to improve my time and get match experience. They were very cool about their race and I never saw being plagued by tension.

It was your first Olympic run and how did you cope with the stress?

A: I was a bit tensed up in the heats. But the motivation given by Usha chechi (P.T Usha) was great.

She showed me how Pistorius (Oscar Pistorius, a double below-knee amputee athlete) ran and told me that it is our mind that makes us powerful. After finishing third, my confidence level was higher when I went into the semifinal.

What was the major difference between you and those who qualified for the finals?

A: I need more international competitions. The main reason I did not qualify in the finals was the lack of experience in international meets.

As far as training is concerned, I consider I have one of the best trainers and the best facilities at the Usha School of Athletics.

But without participating in international meets, I will not be able to improve my timing. When I met foreign athletes, I realised their training techniques were similar to mine.

But when it came to competence in the race, I was held back. My inexperience in major competitions was evident in the heats. I would not have been boxed-in and would have finished with a better time in the first round of heats.

What do you see in Usha as her best quality?

A: She is very motivating. Moreover, she has a never-say-die attitude. Whatever the reason, she will never allow us to miss a training session.

Though I reached here (Kozhikode) on Sunday, she asked me to practise. She always says practice should be a continuous effort in sports.

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