Indian swimmers continued to make fine progress at the ongoing Asian Age Group Swimming Championships 2019 in Bengaluru, with the quartet of Srihari Nataraj, Sajan Prakash, Likith SP and Virdhawal Khade opening the contingent’s account on day three.
Clocking a total time of 3:46.49 seconds, the 4x100m medley relay team finished off with an impressive margin to beat Thailand (3:48.89) and Hong Kong (3:53.99) en route to adding more golds to the country’s tally.
It was Nataraj who gave India an early advantage by clocking 56.55 seconds in the backstroke leg ahead of Hong Kong’s Lau Shiu Yue (57.72) and Thailand’s Kasipat Chograthin (58.41).
Prakash followed suit in butterfly and kept the lead intact. Likhit, diving in for breaststroke, maintained the difference for India before Khade – who won the gold in the 50m freestyle category on Wednesday – rounded off to ensure India a top spot on the podium.
Meanwhile, the Indian women’s 4x100m medley relay team, consisting of Maana Patel, Divya Satija, Chahat Arora and Shivani Kataria, captured silver clocking 4:26.69. Thailand took the gold (4:23.23) while Hong Kong completed the podium (4:31.19).
No stopping Kushagra
Having made an excellent start to the tournament, Kushagra Rawat built on the momentum by bagging his fourth individual gold at the event. Up in the 400m freestyle, the teenager clocked 3:55.81 seconds to finish ahead of Chang Cheng Li Wei (3:56.82) of Chinese Taipei and Abbas Omar (4:01.52) of Syria. In the women’s division of the same category, Shivani Kataria clocked 4:27.16 to take home the bronze.
Later in the day, Prakash also made it to the top of the podium in the 200m butterfly by timing 2:00.38. Thailand’s Wongcharoen Navaphat (2:01.16) and Syria’s Ayman Klzie (2:02.38) rounded off the podium.
Natraj, further, added to India’s tally by creating a new meet record, clocking 55.06 in the 100m backstroke to bring home the gold. Maana Patel, competing in the same format among the women, settled for silver by finishing behind Vietnam’s Nguyen Diep Phuong Tram.
And finally, in the most exciting race of the day, the Indian duo of Khade and Nataraj won silver and bronze respectively after being outswum by Khurshidjon Tursunov of Uzbekistan in 100m freestyle.
India’s tally has now grown to 12 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze medals in the tournament. However, despite all these achievements, the country’s swimmers remain way off the 'A' Qualifying time.