Lalita Babar impressed in the women's 300m steeplechase final. A person best would have put her in the top 7 but a timing of 9 minutes 22.74 seconds in the finals on Monday, 15 August, was good enough for 10th. She was nearly three seconds outside her national record effort of 9 minutes 19.76 seconds she set in qualification on Saturday, 13 August.
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.
After the race, Babar spoke to ESPN and said, "It was a bit hot but not something that is unusual for us. I tried my best. I am satisfied by finishing in the top 10. I had struck my knee on a hurdle yesterday but that didn't affect me".
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. Lalita Babar is a ticket collector at Ghatkopar Railway station.
Kenyan-born Ruth Jebeth of Bahrain won the gold in 8 minutes 59.75 seconds which is less than a second outside the world record timing of 8 minutes 58.81 seconds. Jebeth was the favourite and she lived up to her tag.
2015 World Championships gold winner Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkomoi of Kenya took the silver in 9 minutes 7.12 seconds while American Emma Coburn won the bronze in 9 minutes 7.63 seconds.
- With inputs from PTI