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Home News Srihari Nataraj takes India's tally to six golds on Day 1 of...

Srihari Nataraj takes India’s tally to six golds on Day 1 of Asian Swimming Championship

Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel took India’s count to an impressive six gold medals, with their stupendous effort in the 50m backstroke event for open category men and women respectively at the 10th Asian Age Group Championships which began last night at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence on Tuesday. Nataraj clocked 25.30 to win the gold while Patel clocked 29.92.

A sensational swim in the 200m freestyle in the open men’s category saw Kushagra Rawat win India’s first individual gold medal. Following the opening ceremony inaugurated by Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, Indian Olympic Association, the packed spectator gallery broke into loud cheers as Rawat clocked 1:52.30 seconds while fellow Indian Anand Anilkumar finished third with a time of 1:54.19 seconds to win the gold and bronze medals in this event. Syria’s Abbas Omar finished second and was only a fraction of a second slower than Rawat with a time of 1:52.33 seconds. 

Talking about his performance in the 200m freestyle, Rawat said, “I caught up with my opponent in the last 75 metres. I looked up and saw my opponent was right next to me and I had a lot left in me, I decided to go all out. I beat by opponent by a margin and I’m sure I can better my time to 1:51 seconds.”

Kushagra Rawat

Rawat made it a sweet double later in the evening as he struck another gold in the 800m freestyle event for open category men. He clocked 8:10.05 to win ahead of Chang Cheng Livei (8:20.14) of Chinese Taipei and Abbas Omar (8:31.64) of Syria. 

Shoan Ganguly also won gold for India in the 200 metres individual medley group II boys with a time of 2:11.18. He also won the silver in the 200 metres freestyle clocking 1:55.18 seconds apart from winning a silver in the 4X100 metres freestyle relay for group II boys. 

Though Patel expressed satisfaction with her timing, Nataraj was a tad disappointed. “My personal best is actually 29.30 which I had clocked four years ago at the same meet in Bangkok but after my injury I struggled over the past four years and could not break the sub-30 seconds barrier. But to have done it today giving me the confidence to go faster,” stated Maana Patel. 

Srihari, on the other hand, said, “I think my finish was poor. I glided too long but I am glad I had taken enough lead which helped me finish first. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is my main event – the 100m backstroke and I can’t afford any such errors.” He beat Atayev Merdan (26.30) from Turkmenistan and Chograthin Kasipat (26.36) from Thailand. 

Meanwhile, India’s ace swimmer Sajan Prakash won the silver medal in the 200 metres individual medley. He finished behind Ketin Nuttapong (2:0629) and ahead of Sukkieo Phuwadon (2:08.21) both from Thailand. Likith Selvaraj also added to India’s medal tally by winning the bronze medal in the 100 metres breaststroke men’s open category with time of 1:02.19 seconds. Vladislav Mustafin (1:01.41) of Uzbekistan and Denis Petrashov (1:01.88) of Kyrgyzstan finished first and second respectively. 

India wins big in relays

Earlier in the day, the open category men’s relay team comprising of Srihari Nataraj, Anand Anilkumar, Sajan Prakash and Virdhawal Khade registered India’s first gold in the 4X100 metres men’s freestyle relay in the morning session. 

Shoan Ganguly

The Indian team clocked a time of 3:23.72 seconds, almost five seconds faster than Iran who finished second with a time of 3:28.46 sec and Uzbekistan who finished third clocking 3:30.59 sec. First to get off the blocks for India, Srihari ensured his team got off to a flying start as he touched the pads at 50.68 seconds while Iranian swimmer Sina Gholampour finished him at 51.42 seconds. Anand, swimming the second hundred of the 4x100m relay, was impressive as he kept up the lead. He swam the distance in 51.28 seconds while Sajan swimming the third hundred clocked 51.37 seconds while Virdhawal Khade’s powerful 50.39 seconds on the clock guaranteed India’s place on top of the podium.

In the 4x100m freestyle relay for open category women, Indian team comprising Rujuta Khade (59.83), Divya Satija (1:01.61), Shivani Kataria (59.57) and Maana Patel (59.75) won a silver medal with a total time of 4:00.76 seconds while Thailand bagged the gold with 3:54.29 seconds and Hong Kong finished third with a time of 4:08.64 seconds. 

India’s second silver medal came in the 4x100m freestyle relay for group II boys. The team featuring Vedaant Madhavan (55.27), Utkarsh Patil (57.10), Sahil Laskar (54.83) and Shoan Ganguly (54.29) clocked a total time of 3:41.49 seconds. They finished behind Japan who won the gold with a time of 3:34.60 which was a New Meet Record (NMR). The previous record of 3:39.03 seconds was also held by Japan. Bronze medal was won by Chinese Taipei who clocked 3:42.29 seconds. 

In the group I boys 4x100m freestyle relay, India won bronze with a time of 3:33.52 seconds. The team comprising Vikkas P (54.31), CJ Sanjay (53.92), Adhithya D (52.70), Tanish George Mathew (52.59) finished third behind Hong Kong who finished first with a time of 3:28.32 while Japan was close second with a time of 3:28.34 seconds.  

The other medal winners from India are Shivani Kataria who won silver in the open category 200 metres freestyle with a time of  2:05.75 second.

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