Hyderabad, June 26: Iconic athlete P.T. Usha wants to intensify the level of competition for her protege Tintu Luka as she gears up for the 800 meters at the 2012 London Olympics.
Usha, a former Olympian and Asian Games Gold medallist, said that Luka needed to compete against European athletes to test her skill and endurance as competition at the national games – where she bagged gold – was not enough.
“If you say about Tintu (Luka) her practice was done well but only now she needs more competition. She is not getting competition here, she needs higher degree of competition from what she is getting in this inter-state meet. She has to get good competition in Europe, if she runs with world standard athlete’s she will improve,” said Usha.
Luka, 22, was the first Indian athlete to qualify for the track and field events at the London Games and is being viewed as a strong contender for a podium finish.
Her mentor, however, does not want to put more pressure on Luka and believes that age is on her side.
“Even I pray for my athletes to achieve the Olympic medal and I am trying, especially since she is my trainee, Tintu Luka, I am very much trying and I want her to win the medal. But even if she comes in the final I am happy and if she wins the medal it’s very good but she is only 22 years, she has lot of time,” Usha added.
Luka burst onto the Athletic circuit by winning silver in 800 metres at the 2008 Asian Junior Athletics Championship.
After a disappointing run at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she finished sixth, Luka bounced back by winning the Bronze medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. (ANI)