India’s campaign in athletics continued to remain uninspiring as race walkers — Sandeep Kumar and Khushbir Kaur — finished way below their career best timings at their respective events at the Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Sapana Punia, meanwhile, failed to finish her race. Disappointment continued on the track as both men’s and women’s relay teams failed to qualify for 4x400m relay final.
As it happened
0548 hrs IST: India men’s relay team finish seventh in their 4x400m heat with a timing of 3:02.24
0546 hrs IST: India struggling in the last position as the athletes enter the final stretch. Poor outing. Struggling in the middle
0544 hrs IST: India relay team to run in Lane 2. Get, set and out go the athletes
0538 hrs IST: Heat 1 is over. Jamaica, USA and Trinidad and Tobago go through from the group. Jamaica with the season best timing of 2:58.29
0534 hrs IST: India will compete in Heat 2 of 4×400 men’s realy in some time from now
0531 hrs IST: Muhammed Kunhu Puthanpurakkal, Muhammed Anas, Ayyasamy Dharun, Arokia Rajiv are part of India’s men’s relay team
0530 hrs IST: With women’s challenge, India’s hopes now rest with the men’s team which also competes in the 4x400m relay Heats
0528 hrs IST: Nirmla, Tintu Lukka, Raju Poovamma Machettira and Anilda Thomas were part of India’s team
0525 hrs IST: India women’s 4×400 relay team exits in Heats, finish 13th with a timing of 3:29.53
0045 hrs IST: China’s Hong clinched gold while Maria Guadalupe of Mexico and Xiuzhi of China grabbed silver and bronze respectively
0040 hrs IST: Khushbir Kaur has finished 54th in 20km racewalk with a time span of 1:40:33 while Sapna Punia has failed to complete her event
20:34 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar finishes at 35th in the grueling 50km race walk event. He clocks a timing of 4:07:55. He stands 26:57 behind team leader.
20:08 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar still on 37th after 45km mark with a timing of 3:42:04. He is trailing by 23:17 behind team leader.
19:45 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar moves to 37th after 40km mark with a timing of 3:16:12. He is racing 19:18 behind the leader.
19:38 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar is 42nd after 35 km with time of 2:50:22.
1831 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar is 48th at halfway stage in 50km walk race. Time of 1:59:13.
1809 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar stays 50th after 20km with time of 1:34:25. But he does fall behind further from the leader
1745 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar has climbed another four places to stand 50th after 15km. Time of 1:10:18 and four minutes adrift of the leader Yohann Diniz of France
1736 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar is 54th at the 10km stage in his 50km walk event. Time of 46:58
1710 hrs IST: Sandeep Kumar has begun his 50km walk event and he’s placed 57th after first 5 kms. Time of 23:49.
Tintu Luka came a cropper on the global stage once again as she failed to qualify for the semifinals of the women’s 800m race after finishing sixth in her heat at the Rio Olympics.
27-year-old Luka clocked a season’s best of 2 minute 00.58 seconds to finish sixth in heat number 3 and 29th overall out of a total 65 runners. She holds the national record of 1:59.17 which she created in 2010.
As usual she led the field till around 600m before fading on the final stretch to end her second Olympics campaign in disappointment.
Only the top two finishers in each of the eight heats and the next best eight runners qualified for the semifinal round.
2015 World Championships silver medallist Melissa Bishop of Canada topped the heats in 1:58.39, followed by reigning world champion Marina Arzamasova (1:58.44) of Belarus and Habitum Alemu (1:58.99) of Ethiopia.
With Luka’s flop show today, India’s disappointment in track and field events continued in the Games. Only Lalita Babar has been able to make it to the final round of the women’s steeplechase event.
Luka, a protege of track legend P T Usha, has rarely done well at the global stage since she made it to the senior level in 2009. She has done well only at the continental level, having won a bronze and a silver in the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games respectively.
Her best performance in either Commonwealth Games or Olympics, where athletics got to see some top participants, has been the sixth-place finish in the 2010 Delhi CWG.
Luka was 15th at the semifinal stage in the 2011 World Championships, 11th at the semifinal stage in the 2012 London Olympics, 15th in the heats in the 2013 World Championships, 11th at the semifinal stage at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 19th in the heats in the 2015 World Championships.