National Record has come at right time, will help focus on Rio: Sudha Singh

Lalita Babar Sudha Singh O P Jaisha the Indian Women Athletes training for the TSK 25K Kolkata 2015New Delhi: Asian Games 2010 Gold Medal winner, Sudha Singh, who created a new National record in the women’s 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League Shanghai race on Saturday, said her performance has come at the right time and it’ll boost her preparations for the 2016 Olympics Games.

Sudha’s new mark – 9:26:55sec, rewritten 15 days after Asian champion Lalita Babar set the then existing record in New Delhi, has intensified the friendly-rivalry for the duo who enjoy a fine chemistry and train under foreign expert Dr Nikolai Snesraev. The trio returned from China late last night and both Sudha and Lalita said on Monday from their Bangalore camp that they will resume training for Rio Games, later this evening.

For Sudha, this was her first international outing on track since the 2014 Asian Games and she admitted to have butterflies in her stomach prior to the IAAF Diamond League race in Shanghai where she finished 8th in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.

“We reached there in advance and also trained a bit. It was a bit cold, around 15 degree Celsius, but once the race started I didn’t know what was happening. This was my first international race in the steeplechase since 2014 Asiad,” said the petite athlete, who clinched her Olympics berth in the first track event she participated since then, at the Federation Cup on April 29. Sudha clocked 9:31.86s to achieve the Rio qualification mark of 9:45.00s.

Sudha, who finished fourth in her pet event at the 2014 Asian Games, said their coach Dr Nikolai Snesarev had motivated her to do well and “gift something back to the country for their support”. Both Sudha and Lalita have already qualified for the women’s 3000m steeplechase and marathon for Rio.

Meanwhile, Lalita, who finished 8th in the women’s 3000m steeplechase at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, said she was unable to run her natural race in Shanghai, but admitted that ups and downs are part and parcel of competing at the highest level. “I was unable to run in my natural style, but these things happen in our career. I will now concentrate on bettering my performance,” said Lalita, whose National record stood at 9:27.09s. She clocked 9:43.30s to finish 13th in Shanghai.