Another poor day for India, as their wait for Rio Olympic medal continues. Indian athlete Seema Punia crashed out of the women’s Discus Throw event. Seema’s best throw of 57.58 metres came in her first attempt. She registered a foul in her next attempt before finishing with 56.78m in her third and final attempt. Yaime Perez of Cuba finished at the top of the group with a best attempt of 65.38 metres while China’s Su Xinyue was second with 65.14m. Nadine Muller (63.67m) of Germany was third. Melina was the fourth Robert-Michon was the fourth athlete from the group to qualify for the final with a best attempt of 62.59m. In the overall standings, Yaime and Su claimed the top two positions while Sandra Perkovic (64.81m) of Croatia from Group A was third. Dani Samuels (64.46m) of Australia, Cuban Denia Caballero (62.94m) and China’s Feng Bin (62.01m) were the others to qualify for the final from Group A.
Live India Athletics:
0520 hrs IST: Heavy rain has stopped all track and field events at the Games. Seema Antil will have to wait for her qualifiers
0458 hrs IST: India’s Seema Antil to be in action shortly in the women’s discus throw qualifiers. She is placed in Group B and will start with her throws shortly
1955 hrs IST: Ruth Jebet of Bahrain wins gold medal with time of 8:59.75. Silver for Kenya’s Jepkemoi, USA’s Coburn gets bronze
1952 hrs IST: Final lap and Jebet in still commanding lead.
1949 hrs IST: Ruth Jebet is in serious lead at the moment. Four laps to go in the 3000m Steeplechase Final. 6:00.06 after 2000m
1913 hrs IST: Renjith Maheshwary with final jump of 15.99 and he won’t qualify forward.
1837 hrs IST: Maheshwary improves in the second jump to 16.13 metres. 23rd ranked now but needs more in his final attempt
1828 hrs IST: Maheshwary has dropped to 23rd in the overall rankings. Needs to improve considerably in his next two attempts or hit the qualification mark of 16.95
1823 hrs IST: Srabani with reaction time of 0.150 and she finishes sixth in the heats with time of 23.58 seconds.
1821 hrs IST: Srabani Nanda in 200m Heats now. The top two qualify
1816 hrs IST: Auto qualification mark is 16.95 or else top-12 finish
1811 hrs IST: Renjith starts with a jump of 15.80 in his first attempt. No wind to change score. He’s 13th overall so far. The benchmark has been set at 17.10 metres
1800 hrs IST: Renjith Maheshwary in triple jump qualifying to open athletics action. He’s placed in Group B
Lalita Babar has been going to sleep at 6.30 am India time everyday, in Ooty, this past one month. She has also been simulating steeplechase races at 6.30 pm — telling her mind it’s a 10 am start at Brazil’s Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange stadium. On Saturday, at 10 am — just like her inner clock had got used to — Babar ran a meticulously planned race that she had rehearsed a million times in her head. Clocking 9 minutes 19.76 seconds in the 3000 m steeplechase, the 26-year-old from Satara became the first Indian woman athlete in 32 years to make it to a track final at the Olympics.
That’s the first runner after the legendary P T Usha at Los Angeles in 1984.
Babar is tall, with a loping stride. The only reason India hasn’t woken up to her all these months is because she has kept a low profile while leaping over high hurdles and splashing in water — all of it to the last point of accuracy, as planned by Belarusian coach Dr Nikolai Snesarev.
Born to modest farmers in rural Maharashtra, Babar has seen a steady rise. Her latest national record — she improved by 7 seconds — came exactly a year after she raised the bar in a fifth national mark at the World Championships last August.
Babar had already marked herself as world-class when she finished 8th at the World Championships in Beijing in 2015. But in going under 9 minutes 20 seconds, she has announced her intent to challenge the best in the world.
Excellence drives this talented Indian runner, and she has consistently maintained that the biggest joy is in running alongside world-class talent.
On Friday, she finished fourth in her heats — after Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya (9:17.55), Emma Coburn of USA (9:18.12) and Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia (9:18.71), all of who ended up as automatic qualifiers. Babar finished as the next-6 top performers, even as the final became an 18-woman race, owing to all the tumbles that took place at Rio.
In what was a messy race, where people stumbled, fell, and stepped on each other in the water jump, Babar kept her poise, even after slipping once.
“I’m okay and I will race on Independence Day, that was the plan. But I know the job is not done. It’s just one part of the task completed and now the main task remains,” said the athlete.
Babar has logged thousands of kilometres in running, even after her fifth national record at Beijing last year, and has not remained content with just being India’s best. She wasn’t interested in the record today either, and instead expressed her disappointment that she could not finish in the top three.
Judging by the results today, it will be a world record final, where Ruth Jebet is expected to clock below 9 minutes. Babar had competed with Jebet at the Incheon Asiad, where she won the bronze.
“If Ruth can run faster then why can’t we,” Babar always maintained.
Though Babar was in absolute command of her speed on Saturday, she can expect a final where the pace is fast from the beginning. The long-striding Babar, quietly confident, is ready.
India had a disappointing day in the women’s marathon on Sunday as O.P. Jaisha finished in the 89th position, while her compatriot Kavita Raut finished 120th at the Olympic Games.
Jaisha clocked a timing of 2:47:19 hours, while Kavita clocked 2:59:29.
The event was dominated by Jemima Jelagat Sumgong of Kenya who clocked 2:24:04 to win the gold medal, followed by Bahrain’s Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa who clocked 2:24:13 and clinched the silver medal.
Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba won the bronze medal clocking 2:24:30.