After producing numerous international swimmers and being the most preferred city for Olympians and top Indian swimmers to train and excel, Bengaluru for the very first time will host the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships 2019 starting 24th September giving the country’s swimming enthusiasts an opportunity to witness the largest Aquatic Event in the continent.
The nine-day sporting extravaganza will have over 40 countries and more than 1200 participants vying for top honours in four different aquatic disciplines such as swimming, diving, water polo and the visually-mesmerizing artistic swimming.
The event venues will be spread across the city with Swimming events being held at Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence from 24th to 27th September 2019, Water Polo will be held at the Sports Authority of India, Kengeri from 24th September to 30th September 2019,Diving will be held at the Sports Authority of India, Kengeri from 29th September to 2nd October 2019 and Artistic swimming will be held at the Kensington Swimming Pool, Ulsoor from 29th September to 2nd October 2019.
“It is a true honour and pride for us to host the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships 2019 in Bengaluru, a city which has seen scores of International swimmers being produced under the Karnataka Swimming Association’s umbrella. We are geared up to ensure the event is a mega success and that every participant will return home with memories they would cherish for a lifetime,” expressed Gopal B Hosur, IPS (Rtd), President of the Organising Committee (AAGC 2019).
He further added that the support provided by government of Karnataka has ensured this mega event is conducted on-par with top world-class aquatic events. “I must extend my sincere gratitude to Government of Karnataka and the Department of Youth Services and Sports who have come on board as the main sponsor for this event. Their support has come as a shot in the arm in our endeavour to ensure the event is conducted on-par with other top nations,” Hosur said. The event will also be supported by Prestige Group and Speedo as Platinum Sponsors.
The 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships Bengaluru 2019 will not only see top swimmers from Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore but will also see a strong contingent from India which will include the likes of Olympians Virdhawal Khade, Sajan Prakash and Shivani Kataria, backstroke sensation Srihari Nataraj, sprinter Anshul Kothari, national record holder in breast stroke Likith SP, freestyle specialist Khushagra Rawat take part in the Open Category while Kenisha Gupta, Kushi Dinesh, Suvana C Baskar, Tanish George Mathew, Sanjay CJ and Riddhima Virendra among others promise to create headlines in the age-group categories.
“This is the largest Aquatic Championships in Asia as it’s not only for open category (18 years and above) like the Asian Games and Asian Championships but will also include participants from Age Groups I (15-17 years) and II (14 years and below). The last time India hosted this event was in 1999 and I am sure this Championships coming to India will spur the popularity of the sport with aspiring swimmers getting to watch their icons live in action. Traditionally, Indian swimmers have always done well at this competition and I am confident they will make use of the home advantage this time to surpass the previous edition’s medal tally,” stated Monal Chokshi, Secretary General, Swimming Federation of India.
Adding to Chokshi’s views, veteran sports administrator Virendra Nanavati, Vice President of Indian Olympic Association said, “This is a very crucial period for the Indian swimmers as some of them are vying for the ‘A’ Qualification mark for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. At the recent FINA World Championships we had a good participation with six swimmers, four Open Water swimmers and one diver qualifying to take part and some of them even improved the best Indian Performance record. Good show here at the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships Bengaluru 2019 will put them in good stead to make the qualification mark for the forthcoming Olympics.”
In the previous edition held in Uzbekistan in 2017, India won a total of 40 medals in Swimming with 5 Gold, 13 Silver and 22 Bronze Medals while in Diving India won 3 Gold, two Silver and three Bronze Medals.
“It is very exciting that the 10th AASF Asian Age Group Championships 2019 is happening in my hometown Bengaluru. This is a great opportunity for Indian swimmers to create winning performances and garner more support for swimming in the country. With nearly 45 days to go for the event, I am looking forward to be in my best form and I will be vying for Gold in all my events and make use of the home advantage. At the recent FINA World Championships, I further improved my personal best in 50m (25.83), 200m (2:02.08) backstroke slashing my own National Record in these events and I clocked 55.55 in the 100m backstroke. Though I could not achieve my goal of securing the A Qualification Mark for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, I believe there are quite a few opportunities coming up and I am confident of achieving the A Qualification mark. I was one of the youngest swimmers in my event at the FINA World Championships, so in that sense I am happy with my performance.”
– Srihari Nataraj, national record holder in 50, 100 & 200m backstroke