Rio de Janeiro:
Lalita Babar failed to repeat her creditable display in the qualification as she finished 10th in the women’s 3000m steeplechase finals as Indians continued their disappointing performance in track and events of the Rio Olympics.
Babar clocked 9:22.74 in the finals today, nearly three seconds outside her national record effort of 9:19.76 in the qualification on Saturday.
Despite her 10th finish, Babar’s effort was still the best performance by an Indian in a track event after after PT Usha’s fourth-place finish in the 400m hurdles in 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The 27-year-old from the drought-prone Satara district in Maharashtra had become the second Indian woman after Usha in
1984 Los Angeles to qualify for a final at a track event at quadrennial extravaganza. Kenyan-born Ruth Jebeth of Bahrain won the gold in 8:59.75 which is less than a second outside the world record timing of 8:58.81. She was the pre-event favourite.
2015 World Championships gold winner Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkomoi of Kenya took the silver in 9:07.12 while American Emma Coburn won the bronze in 9:07.63.
Meanwhile, triple jumper Renjith Maheswary’s flop show in big stages continued as he failed to make it to the final round after finishing 30th overall out of 48 competitors in the qualification with a pedestrian best effort of 16.13m. The 30-year-old Kerala athlete had made the Rio Olympics cut on the last day of qualification period on July 11 at the hurriedly arranged Indian Grand Prix with a jump of 17.30m.
In women’s 200m also, India’s Srabani Nanda finished sixth out of eight competitors in heat number five with a timing of 23.58 seconds. She has a personal best of 23.07. The Odiya girl finished 55th overall out of 72 competitors.