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National aquatics: Srihari, Sajan impress with new national records

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Bengaluru, Oct 29 (IANS) Olympians Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash came up with impressive performances on the final day, setting national records on Friday even as Team Karnataka emerged the overall champions at the 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships with 36 medals — 17 gold, 10 silver, 9 bronze.

This is Karnataka’s 30th overall championship title at the Senior Nationals. Maharashtra finished second with a total of 21 medals and Delhi finished third with nine medals.

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But the dominant forces in the pool on the final day continued to be Nataraj, Prakash, and juniors swimmers Shoan Ganguly and Ridhima Veerendrakumar.

In the 200m freestyle, which was the most-anticipated race of the day, Srihari Nataraj clinched the gold with a new meet of 1:49.78 seconds. He eclipsed Sajan P’akash’s record of 1:50.35 clocked in 2018. Delhi Kushagra Rawat, who has three gold medals with three national records to his name in this meet, finished second in 1:52.24 seconds and Tanish George Mathew of Karnataka finished third with a time of 1:52.34 seconds, according to information provided by the Swimming Federation of India.

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“This was one race I was looking forward to because Kushagra was swimming too and he has been in good form. I’ve worked quite hard for my freestyle events more than backstroke actually and it feels good to have won the race and also bettered the national record,” said Nataraj, who also won gold in the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:04.20 seconds.

In the 100m butterfly, two-time Olympian Sajan Prakash, representing Kerala Police, sank his own record of 53.46 seconds to win gold. He clocked 53.24 seconds to rewrite the record while Mihir Ambre from Maharashtra finished second with a time of 54.93 seconds and Adhithya D of TNSA finished third clocking 55.72 seconds.

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Junior swimmers, Shoan Ganguly and Ridhima Veerendrakumar continued to impress as they won gold in their respective events. Ganguly won the 400m medley with a time of 4:30.52 seconds, missing Rehan Poncha’s 12-year-old record by a whisker. Poncha’s record stands at 4:30.13 seconds. Siva S finished second with a time of 4:36.38 seconds.

In the 200m backstroke, 17-year-old Ridhima clinched the gold beating Olympian Maana Patel who was pushed to fourth place in this event. Ridhima clocked 2:21.58 seconds to finish ahead of Soubriti Mondal of Bengal (2:24.85) and Shrungi Rajesh Bandekar of Goa (2:28.27). Maana missed a podium finish as she touched behind Bandekar with a time of 2:28.96 seconds.

–IANS

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