10th Asian Age Group Swimming Championships: Spirited India swimmers bag 9th gold medal

Sakal Times
Friday, 27 September 2019

Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj, Likith SP and Virdhawal Khade set the pool on fire with an impressive show

Bengaluru: The Indian men’s 4x100m medley relay team comprising Srihari Nataraj, Sajan Prakash, Likith SP and Virdhawal Khade clocked a total time of 3:46.49 seconds to beat Thailand (3:48.89) and Hong Kong (3:53.99) respectively to win India’s ninth gold medal at the 10th Asian Age Group Championships here at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence on Wednesday. 

India lived up to the challenge posed by Thailand and Hong Kong as they got off to a flying start thanks to Srihari Nataraj (56.55) giving an ideal lead in backstroke as he finished ahead of Hong Kong’s Lau Shiu Yue (57.72) and Thailand’s Kasipat Chograthin (58.41). Sajan Prakash diving in next for the butterfly dash kept up India’s lead with a time of 54.50 seconds while Thailand’s Navaphat Wongcharoen clocked 54.50 seconds and Hong Kong’s Cheung Yau Ming (56.60). 

Likith SP, swimming breast stroke, was excellent as he extended the lead clocking fastest time of 1:02.47 while Thailand’s Nuttapong Ketin timed 1:03.69 and Hong Kong’s NG Yan Kin who clocked 1:05.82 seconds. Khade, who won gold in the 50m freestyle on Wednesday, ensured the first-place finish as he kept up the momentum created by his compatriots to win gold. He timed 53.00 seconds while Thailand’s Tarit Thongchumsin tried catching with a faster time of 52.29 seconds but settled for silver while Hong Kong’s Fung Chung Ho clocked 53.85 seconds to take home the bronze medal.     

“We had a good start, I was expecting to be half a second faster but maybe I’m bit exhausted from all the racing. We all swam a very good race. We led from the start to finish. It is motivating to see other Indian swimmers do well in this Championships, I feel this is the strongest team we have had and I am really excited that it is going well,’ stated Nataraj after the gold-medal feat. 

In the 4x100m medley relay for open category women, India comprising Maana Patel, Divya Satija, Chahat Arora and Shivani Kataria bagged the silver medal with a time of 4:26.69 seconds. Thailand won the race with a time of 4:23.23 while Hong Kong finished third with a timing of 4:31.19 seconds. “I’m happy that we got the silver medal. I swam 100 metres backstroke in the heats and then the relay, I clocked almost the same time in both the events. I wanted a gold too for this event but I’m happy with how the team is performing,” stated Maana Patel after the race. 

India’s Virdhawal Khade and Srihari Nataraj for the first time will compete against each other in the 100m freestyle event for open category men. Speaking about the race, Khade said: “It will be a very good race. The Uzbekistan swimmer (Khurshidjon Tursunov) will be a tough competitor but it will be good to have two podium finishes from India. This will be the first time Srihari and I are racing against each other in the same event and I am totally looking forward to it. I am confident of a gold in the 100m freestyle too.”

Kushagra Rawat, who has been in sensational form, will be attempting for his fourth individual gold medal when he swims the 400m freestyle final in the evening. He won the 1500m freestyle on Wednesday and also won the 200m and 800m freestyle on the opening day.

4x100 Freestyle (Group II Mixed)
1. Japan (3:46.29)
2. Hong Kong (3:48.48)
3. Thailand (3:50.98)
4x100 Medley (Open Category Men)
1. India (3:46.49)
2. Thailand (3:48.89)
3. Hong Kong (3:53.99)
4x100 Medley (Open Category Women)
1. Thailand (4:23.23)
2. India (4:26.69)
3. Hong Kong (4:31.19)
4x200m Freestyle (Group I Boys)
1. Japan (7:37.59) NMR
2. Hong Kong (7:52.26)
3. Thailand (7:55.17)
4x200m Freestyle (Group I Girls)
1. Japan (8:23.26)
2. Hong Kong (8:41.20)
3. Thailand (8:48.52)

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