Tintu smashes 800m record as Kerala dominate in home track


Thiruvananthapuram:  Asian Games medallist Tintu Luka ruled the track on the final day of competitions of the National Games as she smashed an 18-year-old meet record to win the 800m gold. She later played a crucial role in Kerala winning the gold medal in 4x400m relay race.
In the overall medals tally, Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) notched up a hat-trick of overall titles by finishing atop medals table. SSCB led the tally on account of a higher number of gold medals and emerged as the overall champions with 158 medals (91 gold, 32 silver and 35 bronze), followed by hosts Kerala, who rode on a strong athletics performance to total 161 (54 gold, 46 silver and 61 bronze) and Haryana (39 gold, 40 silver and 27 bronze).

On the final day of competitions, vociferous home supporters filled the athletics ground and Tintu’s star turn made their day. Protege of the legendary PT Usha and an outright favourite before the 800m race, Tintu lived up to the top billing as she freezed the clock at 2:01.86sec to win the gold and better the 2:03:08sec mark created by KC Rosa Kutty way back in 1997. Tamil Nadu’s Gomathi Marimuthu was a distant second with a timing of 2:05.09sec, while Sini Markose won the bronze, clocking 2:06.37sec.
“I am very happy because I have broken the meet record. It was a good race for me. I am lucky to have a coach Like PT Usha. I would like to thank her for getting me so far,” Tintu, an Asian Games gold-medallist in the 4x400m relay event and a silver-winner in the 800m, said after the race.