Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Sajan Prakash became the first Indian swimmer to make the ‘A’ qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympics recording the fastest time ever clocked by an Indian in 200m butterfly as he touched pads at 1:56.38 in Sette Colli, Rome – a FINA accredited meet. The ‘qualifying standard was 1:56.48.
Sajan had clocked 1:56.96 in the previous meet in Belgrade, Serbia last week but was well-tapered and confident to make the mark in Rome. “I have worked very hard for this, and I was confident with the way I had trained. This was my last chance, and I knew I had to do it here. I had come so close to the qualifying mark in the previous meets” he said.
In other races Kenisha Gupta clocked best Indian performance of 57.35 in 100m freestyle for women. On Friday, Srihari Nataraj missed the A qualifying mark by 0.05 seconds, having touched the pads at 53.90 in 100m backstroke . The ‘A’ cut for this event is 53.85 seconds.
Swimming Federation of India (SFI) Secretary General Monal Chokshi, hailed Sajan Prakash’s performance calling it ‘ a historic moment for Indian swimming,”
“We are all thrilled with Sajan’s performance in Sette Colli, Rome which happened to be the last event to make the ‘A’ qualifying mark. Sajan’s achievement has broken the glass ceiling in Indian swimming which will inspire the generations to come. This stupendous result has come despite the several challenges posed by the pandemic.”
Virendra Nanavati, Executive Director, SFI said, “We are very happy that an Indian swimmer has finally hit the world stage with an ‘A’ qualifying time for the Olympic Games. This has been a dream and it has come true today. It has been one of the best build-ups to an Olympic Games in the history of Indian swimming with as many as six swimmers making the ‘B’ cut and this is the first-time multiple swimmers have come so close to the Olympic A cut.”