Hyderabad: The Tokyo Games will kick-off a new chapter in Indian swimming history. While Indian swimmers competed at various Games through universality quotas, this time around, it would be different.
For the first time in Indian history, two swimmers – Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj – have achieved the Olympic ‘A’ cuts and earned their berths in the Games. Joining them will be Maana Patel, who made it to the Games through universality invite. With three swimmers, India will have their biggest contingent in the pool for the first time since 2008, where four Indians had competed.
It was Sajan Prakash who first achieved the Olympic qualification mark in the men’s 200m butterfly event. He clocked 1.56.38s at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome. The Games ‘A’ standard was set at 1.56.48 seconds. This would be Sajan Prakash’s second Olympics after having competed in the Rio Games where he earned a universality quota. A day later Sajan Prakash’s feat, Nataraj too breached the Olympic A standard in the men’s 100m backstroke. With the Olympic qualifying timing being 53.85s, Nataraj clocked 53.77s.
The talented Maana Patel will fight it out alongside the international superstars from across the globe in the women’s 100m backstroke in her maiden Olympics. She is the current national record holder in 50, 100, 200m backstroke events.
While no Indian swimmer went past preliminary rounds in the Olympics so far, the three-member contingent faces a big task. However, that doesn’t stop them from having a race of their own. The trio would certainly hope to set their personal best performances in the pool in Tokyo.
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