National aquatic championships to begin from October 26
In the senior category, ace Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj will lock horns with each other for the individual champion title
The junior and sub-junior national aquatic championships will begin on Tuesday while the senior national meet is scheduled for next week, the Swimming Federation of India announced on Monday.
With swimming pools remaining closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the SFI was forced to cancel national aquatic championships in 2020. However, over 1500 participants from across 32 states and union territories are expected to participate in the championships this year in Bangalore.
The sub-junior and junior championships will be followed by the much-awaited 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships, starting October 26. "We are absolutely thrilled that the National Championships is finally taking place after the pandemic disrupted swimming activities across India," SFI Secretary-General Monal Chokshi said at the pre-event press conference.
"We had to ensure all the states have resumed swimming for competitive swimmers before we announced the dates for the Nationals and I am happy to state that all the member units were unanimous in their support to go ahead with the prestigious National Championships."
The junior and sub-junior championships will also serve as a selection trial for the SFI to name a 10-member team that will train and compete with the South African national swimming team in January.
The federation will also identify swimmers for a long-term national program aimed at preparing swimmers for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
While the swimming events will be held at the newly-renovated Basavangudi Aquatic Centre, diving and water polo will take place at the Kensington Swimming Pool, Ulsoor and Netkalappa Aquatic Centre respectively.
In the senior category, ace Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj will lock horns with each other for the individual champion title.
Earlier this year, both became the first Indian swimmers to achieve the Olympic Standard Time and directly qualify for the Olympics. Maana Patel, who also participated in the Tokyo Olympics, is also expected to create ripples in her pet events -- 50m and 100m backstroke.
Top swimmers in the fray also include Karnataka's Tanish George Mathew and Shiva S, Assam's Shivangi Sharma, Goa's Shrungi Bhandekar, Maharashtra's sprint sensation Rujuta Bhat and Chahat Arora, Services team's Madhu PS, Likith SP, Vaishnav Hegde, Anand AS and Delhi's Kushagra Rawat.
Apart from several SOPs laid out by SFI, each and every swimmer, coach and technical official participating in the championships would need to submit a negative Covid RT-PCR test report on arrival to Bengaluru with the test taken within 72 hours of departure from their respective states.