BENGALURU: A sensational swim in the 200m freestyle in the open men’s category saw Kushagra Rawat win India’s first individual gold medal at the 10th Asian Age Group Championships which began today at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence on Tuesday.
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.
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.”
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).
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 Uzbhekistan and Denis Petrashov (1:01.88) of Kyrgyzstan finished first and second.
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.
SILVER FOR INDIAN WOMEN RELAY TEAM
Meanwhile, in the women 4x100m freestyle relay for open category, the Indian team featuring Rujuta Khade (59.83s), Divya Satija (1:01.61s), Shivani Kataria (59.57s) and Maana Patel (59.75s) won silver with a total time of 4:00.76 seconds.