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PT Usha slams AFI for blocking Luka's participation

July 04, 2013 18:24 IST

Legendary athlete P T Usha on Thursday criticised the Athletics Federation of India for blocking her protege Tintu Luka's participation in the Asian Grand Prix series in May, saying it has robbed the youngster of international exposure.

Usha said Luka -- who competes in 800m -- was invited by the Asian Athletics Association but the AFI refused to clear her ward on the ground that she had not participated in an earlier national meet.

"The AAA had invited Luka for the Asian Grand Prix but the AFI said she cannot participate as she had not taken part in the Federation Cup (in Patiala in April). That is not good on the part of AFI," Usha, who is here for the Asian Athletics Championships, said.

Tintu Luka"Luka was invited on the basis of her London Olympics results (where she finished 12th) and nothing to do with the Federation Cup," said Usha.

Usha is determined that Luka should take part in next month's World Championships in Moscow and is confident that she will do well there. Each of the winner in the ongoing Asian Athletics Championships will book an automatic berth in the World Championships.

"I am sure Luka will win gold here. But whether she win gold here or not, I want at least a good competition in Europe before going to Moscow.

"But for that I need help and that I don't know I will get or not," she added.

Usha, who had held the Asian records in both 400m and 400m hurdles, also had a word of praise for promising quartermiler M R Poovamma, who is expected to win a medal at the Asian Athletics Championships.

"She is doing well and showing consistency. I hope the best for her. Last when I saw her I though she had more fat than required. Now she has trimmed down," she said.

Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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