Beijing: Tintu Luka crashed out in the first round heats of the women’s 800m race in the World Athletics Championships with a disappointing seventh-place finish but qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with a season-best effort on the fifth day of competitions here on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old, the reigning Asian champion and national record holder, clocked her season’s best of 2:00.95 to finish seventh in the first of the six heats to fail to qualify for the semifinals. Three top finishers in each of the six heats and the next six fastest timers qualify for the semifinals.
Luka, who has a personal best of 1:59.17 which she clocked in 2010, though got the consolation of crossing the Rio Olympics qualification time of 2:01.00.
As is her wont, Luka led the eight-woman field in the opening lap with a fast 57.06secs time but ran out of steam when it came to the final push.
Six runners ran past her in the last 200 meters as the Indian burnt herself out in a repeat scenario of so many of her races at the international stage.
Luka was also a bit unlucky as she was pitted in a more competitive heat as the three top finishers in heat numbers four and five clocked worse times than the Indian but they still advanced to the semifinals.
It was Tintu’s second appearance in the World Championships. She was a semifinalist at Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
European champion Marina Arzamasova of Belarus led the qualification chart with a time of 1:58.69, followed by Great Britain’s Lynsey Sharp (1:58.98) and 2009 world champion Caster Semenya (1:59.59) of South Africa. All three are from the heat Luka ran.