India’s PU Chitra clocked a personal best timing of 4 minutes and 11.10 seconds to finish eighth in the 1500m heats at the ongoing 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday.
While the 24-year-old did her best to stay with the pack for the longest part of what was a slow race, she couldn’t push herself harder in the final lap as the leaders broke away to seal a place in the semifinal on Thursday.
Placed in the second heat alongside the 2018 African champion Winny Chebet (Kenya) and the former World Junior silver medallist Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia), Chitra opted for a cautious approach as she stayed behind early pacesetters.
Though the Indian had to regroup after tripping while Tsegay tried to move outside the first lane in the early few metres, the strategy proved to be decisive as it helped Chitra reserve enough energy in her strides as the race progressed.
But with her race being the slowest among the heats -- Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the first in 4:03.88 while Jenny Simpson of the USA won the third in 4:07.27 -- finishing among the top six was paramount. And even though the Indian gave her best in the final dash, she ended up eighth while Moroccan Rababe Arafi won the race in 4:08.32.
Johnson in action
On Thursday, India’s champion middle-distance runner Jinson Johnson will be in action as he will hit the track at the Khalifa Stadium with a hope to build on a fruitful season so far.
The 2018 Asian Games gold medallist has been in fine form as he bettered his national record mark at the 2019 ISTAF Berlin event to qualify for the Worlds.
Also hitting the field on the seventh day of the Championships will be India’s shot put ace Tejinderpal Singh Toor. The reigning Asian champion will be eager to test himself against the best in the world at a venue that saw him clinch the Asian Athletics Championships gold earlier this year.