Swimmers Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj bag gold but miss Olympic ‘A’ cut

Belgrade, Jun 20 Olympic hopefuls Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj won a gold each in their respective events at the Belgrade Trophy swimming competition but missed the elusive ‘A’ qualification mark for the Tokyo Games here.

Prakash clocked 1:56.96s to win the gold in the men’s 200m butterfly at the FINA-accredited Olympic qualifier on Saturday, rewriting his own national record of 1:57.73s that he had set in 2018.

However, the 27-year-old swimmer from Kerala fell short of the Olympic ‘A’ cut by 0.48 seconds.

Nataraj, on the hand, clocked 54.45s in the 100m backstroke event to bag the top honours. But the 20-year-old too missed the ‘A’ mark for the Tokyo Olympics.

Both Prakash and Nataraj have already achieved the Olympic ‘B’ mark in 200m butterfly and 100m backstroke events respectively. They are vying for the ‘A’ qualification mark, which ensures an automatic berth to line up at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Olympic ‘A’ cut for 200m butterfly is 1:56.48s, while it has been set at 53.85s for the 100m backstroke.

No Indian has till date achieved the ‘A’ standard.

It was a good day in the office for Indian swimmers as Shoan Ganguli clinched the third gold for India by clocking 4.37.70s in the 400m medley.

Seasoned Maana Patel (29.79s) bagged the silver in the women’s 50m backstroke event, while Tanish Mathews took home the bronze in the men’s 200m butterfly with a time of 2:13.55s.

Kenisha Gupta, who is a part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) development group, finished fourth in the women’s 50m freestyle with a time of 26.65s.

Prakash and Nataraj will have another shot at the ‘A’ qualification mark at the annual Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, which is also a FINA-accredited Olympic qualifying event, next week. News source PTI 


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