Indian swimmers stood tall against the challenge posed by Japan (47 gold, 17 silver, 15 bronze), Thailand (21 gold, 18 silver, 24 bronze), Hong Kong (15 gold, 24 silver and 18 bronze), and China (10 gold, 10 silver, 4 bronze) to set a milestone of winning maximum medals for the country in the history of the Asian Age Group Championships.
India won an impressive 52 medals at the 10th Asian Championships which included 15 gold, 19 silver, and 18 bronze medals. In the previous edition held in Uzbekistan, India had won a total of 40 medals with 5 gold, 13 silver, and 22 bronze medals. “There was that ‘josh’ to win more medals in front of the home crowd and the support we got was incredible. It was a very well-organised meet, compared to what I have seen in the past,” said ace Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash, who alone won four gold and two silver medals at the championships.
Though Sajan enthralled the home audience with a win in the 200m butterfly, the swimmer from Kerala was not happy with the timings he clocked. “In terms of my timing, I am very disappointed with my performance. There was a lot of interruption to my training between March and July when I had to attend training for my job with Kerala Police. After that, I swam in the World Police Meet in China and then the Senior Nationals. I felt quite burnt out during this meet,” said the swimmer, who is supported by Baseline Ventures and is currently under the FINA scholarship program.
He suggested that the Indian swimmers must get over the disappointment of not making the ‘A’ cut to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “It is quite sad that none of us could make the ‘A’ time in front of the home crowd but one must understand it was a very short meet with back-to-back events so the recovery time was less. I think we should all just continue to stay focused on our targets and pursue it with all our will,” he opined.
Sajan will leave on September 30 for training in Phuket, Thailand under coach Miguel Lopez. “I will be looking at an uninterrupted training for the next four months where there will be a heavy load of workout in the first two months and then focus on my power before I start preparing for the Olympic Qualifiers in February or March. I don’t intend to race until then,” said Sajan, who represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Speaking about upcoming swimmers who excelled in this Championships, Sajan heaved praise on Shoan Ganguly and Tanish George Mathew. “I think Shoan Ganguly (who won one gold, three silver, and one bronze) has a really nice stroke and he has a great future ahead of him. Tanish is another swimmer who I think did really well. For a 15-year-old to clock 24.94 in 50m butterfly and 2.02 in 200m butterfly is really good timing,” he said.
Japan wins gold in women’s water polo
Japan added another gold medal to their kitty at the 10th Asian Age Group Championships as their women’s water polo team bagged a gold medal. They were adjudged winners as they finished on top of the round-robin league standings with big wins against China (14-11), Kazakhstan (11-7), Uzbekistan (16-12), Sri Lanka (63-2) and India (22-12).
Uzbekistan, who lost to China today by a narrow margin (11-12), finished second having won against India (28-5), Kazakhstan (16-11), Sri Lanka (29-8). They lost to gold medal winners Japan (12-16) earlier at the Championships which began on September 24.
The bronze medal was bagged by Kazakhstan who won round-robin league matches against China (11-10), India (25-1), Sri Lanka (28-6). They lost matches against Japan (7-11) and Uzbekistan (11-16). Hosts India, having won against Sri Lanka (26-3), finished fifth in the overall ranking. In men’s water polo, Anand MS starred in India’s match by scoring four goals against Japan but eventually lost 9-18. On Sunday, artistic swimming will begin in Kensington Swimming Pool in Ulsoor at 2 PM, while diving will begin in SAI at 9 AM.