Indian swimmers set a milestone of winning maximum medals for the country in the history of the championships winning an impressive 52 medals at the 10th Asian Age Group Championships.
India bagged 15 gold, 19 silver and 18 bronze as compared to the tall challenge posed by Japan (47 gold, 17 silver, 15 bronze), Thailand (21 gold, 18 silver, 24 bronze) Hong Kong (15 gold, 24 silver and 18 bronze) and China (10 gold, 10 silver, 4 bronze).
In the previous edition held in Uzbekistan, India had won a total of 40 medals with 5 gold, 13 silver and 22 bronze.
“There was that josh to win more medal in front of home crowd and the support we got was incredible. It was a very well organised meet compared to what I have seen in the past,” said ace Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash, who won 4 golds and 2 silver medals in the championships.
Though Sajan enthralled the home audience with a win in the 200m butterfly, his pet event, the swimmer from Kerala was not happy with the timings he clocked. “In terms of my timing, I am very disappointed with my performance. There was a lot of interruption to my training between March to July when I had to attend training for my job with Kerala Police. After that I swam the World police meet in China and then the Senior Nationals. I felt quite burnt out during this meet,” he said.
He further expressed the Indian swimmers must get over the disappointment of not making the ‘A’ cut to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“It is quite sad that none of us could make the ‘A’ time in front of home crowd but one must understand it was a very short meet with back-to-back events so the recovery time was less. I think we should all just continue to stay focused on our targets and pursue it with all our will,” he opined.
Sajan will leave on September 30 for training in Phuket, Thailand under coach Miguel Lopez. “I will be looking at uninterrupted training for the next four months where there will be heavy load of workout in the first two months and then focus on my power before I start tapering for the Olympic Qualifiers in February of March. I don’t intend to race until then,” expressed Sajan who represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Speaking about upcoming swimmers who excelled in this Championships, Sajan heaved praise on Shoan Ganguly and Tanish George Mathew. “I think Shoan Ganguly (who won 1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) has a really nice stroke and he has great further ahead of him. Tanish is another swimmer who I think did really well. For a 15-year-old to clock 24.94 in 50m butterfly and 2:02 in 200m butterfly is really good timing,” he said.