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Rediff.com  » Sports » CWG is not Tintu's main target: P T Usha

CWG is not Tintu's main target: P T Usha

September 14, 2010 16:13 IST

Her protege Tintu Luka has already broken the two-minute barrier in 800m and legendary P T Usha feels the best is yet to come for the 21-year-old who can be a bet for an Olympic medal that eluded the former track-queen in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Having returned from IAAF-VTB Bank Continental Cup at Split (Croatia), where Tintu clocked 1:59.17 seconds to break Shiny Wilson's 15-year-old national record, Usha said she will be happy if the young runner wins medal in Delhi Commonwealth Games but would not pressurise for that as it is not the main target.

"I will be very happy if she wins a medal or features in the finals in the Commonwealth Games.

"But I don't want to give her workload and put pressure on her. Our target this year is the Asian Games gold medal," Usha said.

Tintu LukaDaughter of a mason from Valathod village near hilly Iritty in Kerala's Kannur district, Tintu has been under Usha's tutelage since 2002.

"Since she came to my academy, I am preparing her for the London Olympics 2012 and further. Her progress graph has been very significant and I am really happy after she went under two (in Split).

"She is capable of winning a medal at the Olympics," said Usha, who missed a hurdles medal by 1/100th of a second at the Los Angeles Olympics.

"We set target every year. This year has been going on right track for Asiad (at Guangzhou in November). In about one and half months time, I will start the speed work and then she will be clocking 1:58.57," Usha said.

"She has to improve on her timing in the last 30 metres which can be achieved by the speed work," she added.

About the CWG, Usha said Kenya's Olympic silver medalist and former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei appears favourite in a field that also features South African controversial runner Caster Semenya.

Usha was critical of Semenya and said, "In terms of physical appearance, she is not a lady. By nature also Semenya is like a boy. I don't consider Semenya to be a big challenge for Tintu... They both are level par."

Hailing Tintu's performance at Split, Usha said they had to go through a lot of hardships before landing there.

"There was just 50 minutes of time in between the flights. We missed the flight from Zagreb to Split because of this. We had a four-and-half hour bus ride to Split and landed around midnight and the next day was the event.

"I was worried as there was not much recovery time. But despite all these she clocked her personal best," Usha said.

Usha, who runs a School of Athletics by her name near Kozhikode, said she was concerned about the athletes testing positive in National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) tests.

"This really worries me. We have to be very much careful about the diet. My athletes do not take food from outside and we are really cautious about it," she said.

As a matter of fact, Tintu, Asia's best in the two-lap race this year, eclipsed Shiny's national record of 1:59.85 (1995 SAF Games in Chennai) to finish fifth in Croatia on September 4.

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