The duo of Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj will lead a four-member Indian swimming squad at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next month. Along with Prakash and Nataraj, the squad comprises fast-rising Delhi swimmer Kushagra Rawat and Madhya Pradesh’s Advait Page. They will make their debuts at the quadrennial event, scheduled from 28 July to 8 August 8 in Birmingham, UK.
The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) had secured four spots for the 2022 CWG and the national body had announced that swimmers who secured the sixth position time in their respective events from the 2018 Gold Coast CWG and hence were considered for the quota slots in this edition.
“In the qualification period of one year Srihari, Sajan, Advait and Kushagra have clocked the sixth position time from the previous CWG. That is the cut-off standard SFI had set,” SFI Secretary-General Monal Chokshi told PTI.
Sajan Prakash will look to bag his maiden medal for India in the 200m butterfly event, where he achieved the sixth position time. Whereas Srihari Nataraj will take part in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke events. This will be Bengaluru swimmer’s first major event after the Tokyo Olympics.
I will focus on competing well at CWG. That’s the main target for now: Prakash
Prakash expressed his excitement about the CWG games before going to the World Championship. While speaking to the Sportstar, he said, “From here I’ll start progressing to the Commonwealth Games. Right now, World Championship is not the main focus, but [I] will try my best here with all the negatives put behind me. While I will not taper now, [I]will focus on competing well at CWG. That’s the main target for now.”
Kushagra Rawat and Advait Page have qualified for the 1500m freestyle event. The former will also take in the 200m and 400m freestyle. The swimming events will be held from 29 July to 3 August. Indians are yet to win a medal in the able-bodied swimming category at the Commonwealth Games. Whereas Para swimmer Prasanta Karmak won the Bronze medal in 50m freestyle at the 2010 edition in New Delhi which remains India’s only CWG medal in the sport.