Nataraj sweeps backstroke titles at Asian Age group meet
Indian swimmers wrapped up their show at the 10th Asian Age Group Championships with quality performances on the final day of the swimming events in Bengaluru on Friday.
Leading the medal run was one of India’s top swimmers Srihari Nataraj, who completed a clean sweep of the backstroke events at the continental meet held at the Padukone Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence.
After clinching the 50m and 100m backstroke titles earlier in the competition, the 18-year-old Nataraj was in his element as he waded off a stiff challenge from his compatriot Siva S to win the 200m men's backstroke final.
He clocked 2:04.25 while Siva took the silver in 2:05.23. Hong Kong’s Lau Shiu Yue completed the podium in 2:07.68.
Meanwhile, in the women’s section, Divya Satija made the most of the opportunity to not only win a medal but also set a new national record in the 50m butterfly final.
Qualifying as the second-fastest swimmer for the evening session, Satija’s swim of 28.27 seconds could only fetch her a bronze but the timing was enough to better the previous national mark of 28.33 seconds that she had set at the Senior National Aquatic Championships earlier this year.
Thailand’s Srisa Ard Jenjira took the gold in 27.18 seconds while Jordan’s Khader Baqlah Talita Bishara was second with 28.22 seconds.
Khade builds on
The final day of the swimming events also saw one of India’s senior pros Virdhawal Khade win his second gold at the meet.
The 2008 Beijing Olympian won the 50m butterfly final in 24.22 seconds with Kham Abdul Razzaq of Kuwait bagging the silver in 24.64 seconds while Iranian Mehdi Ansari took the bronze in 24.77 seconds.
The morning session also saw India win a gold in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. The team comprising Sajan Prakash, Kushagra Rawat, Anand Anilkumar and Nataraj clocked 7:41.06 seconds for the win with Thailand taking the silver in 7:49.94 and Chinese Taipei the bronze in 8:05.95.
In the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay the quartet of AV Jayaveena, Rujuta Khade, Soubrity Mondal and Shivani Kataria bagged the bronze. They clocked 9:15.87 while Thailand took the gold with 8:36.16 and Hong Kong the silver with 9:06.45.