India’s Lalita Babar shattered the national record in the women’s 3,000 metre Steeplechase to qualify for the final round at the Rio Olympics here on Saturday.
Lalita finished fourth fastest, clocking 9 minutes 19.76 seconds in the Round 1 Heat 2 at the Olympic Stadium to end overall seventh among the 15 qualifiers.
She qualified as a lucky loser, managing to squeeze in among the next top eight fastest outside the top two of each heat who qualified directly.
With the feat, Lalita also became the first Indian woman to qualify for an individual Olympic track event final since P.T. Usha did so in 400m hurdles in the 1984 Games. She had finished fourth in the final.
Meanwhile, another Indian in the fray, Sudha Singh failed to qualify for the final round after finishing a distant 30th in the overall rankings. She clocked 9 minutes 43.29 seconds in Round 1 Heat 3.