Maharashtra to the fore

Maharashtra, the overall champion. — Pics. SANDEEP SAXENA-

A minor change in the age groupings left the swimming events of the 20th sub-junior National aquatic championships bereft of any records.

The international swimming body, FINA, had revised the groupings a few seasons ago for the continental and other age-group championships. The Swimming Federation of India (SFI), much to the displeasure of the states, brought in the change now at these Nationals.

It would be hard to say whether the change in the age groupings affected in any way the prospects of the defending champion, Karnataka.

For, the Maharashtra swimmers took the centrestage once again and re-claimed the glory they had lost in the last Nationals in Bangalore.

Such was Maharashtra's dominance that even the swimming powerhouse, Karnataka, had to content itself with just four gold medals. Of the 40 gold medals at stake in swimming, Maharashtra cornered 23 leaving Delhi (4), Bengal (3), Tamil Nadu (2), Manipur (2), Gujarat (1) and Assam (1), just a few pieces of the pie.

If one had to pick the best swimmer of the championship, both in terms of medals earned and prospect for the future, Maharashtra's Kalyani Basu emerges as the champion.

Kalyani won four individual gold medals and two relay golds and also an individual silver. The nine-year-old from Jamnabi Narsi School plans to continue with the sport despite Maharashtra's education system offering little to none grace marks for sportspersons.

"In Maharashtra, academic pressure is a big problem. Many a talented athlete has given up the sport as there is very little importance given to the bright prospects," says the Maharashtra coach Vinay Marathe.

"That is why you see Maharashtra is very good in the sub-junior level. As children grow, the parents force them to concentrate on studies and eventually a sportsperson is lost," he said. In contrast, Karnataka has a good system of rewarding good sportsmen.

If Kalyani outshone all in the girls' section, the honours were spread in the boys' category. Maharashtra freestyle swimmer Veerdhaval Khade won two individual gold medals, Sagar Patil dominated the backstroke and Bengal's Bidyapati Rajbar was the best in breaststroke. But it was Delhi's Mohit Kumar, who alone put his state in the medals tally. Mohit dominated his pet butterfly event and also won relays for Delhi.

In the Group IV section, Maharashtra's Gaurav Verliani showed good promise winning three gold medals.

In diving too, Maharashtra had the chunk of the medals, but it was T. Hari Prasad of Karnataka who won all the three medals on offer — high board, one-metre spring board and three-metre spring board — in the boys' Group II category.

Team championship: Swimming: Overall champion: Maharashtra — 366 points.

Individual champions: Boys: Group III: Mohit Kumar (Del); Group IV: Gaurav Verliani (Mah). Girls: Group III: B. Neeraja (Kar); Group IV: Kalyani Basu (Mah).

Best swimmers: Boys: Mohit Kumar; Girls: Kalyani Basu.

The results (winners only): Boys: Group III:

Freestyle: 50m: S.R. Sarath (TN) 29.34s. 100m: Veerdhaval Khade (Mah) 1:03.84. 200m: Veerdhaval Khade (Mah) 2:18.30.

Backstroke: 50m: Sagar Patil (Mah) 33.07s. 100m: Sagar Patil (Mah) 1:12:61.

Butterfly: 50m: Mohit Kumar (Del) 30.69s. 100m: Mohit Kumar (Del) 1:09.51.

Breaststroke: 50m: Bidyapati Rajbar (Ben) 36.77s. 100m: Bidyapati Rajbar (Ben) 1:21.32.

200m Individual medley: Mohit Kumar (Del) 2:36.43.

Relays: 4 x50m freestyle: Tamil Nadu 1:59.20. 4 x 50m medley: Maharashtra 2:16.48.

Group IV:

Freestyle: 50m: E. Rabikumar Singh (Man) 32.94s. 100m: Ajinkya Walimbe (Mah) 1:10.49.

Backstroke: 50m: Gaurav Verliani (Mah) 37.13s.

Butterfly: 50m: Abhinav (Kar) 33.94s.

Breaststroke: 50m: H.C. Rojer Luwang (Man) 41.26s.

200m Individual medley: Gaurav Verliani (Mah) 2:51.64.

Relays: 4 x 50m freestyle: Maharashtra 2:13.75. 4 x 50m medley: Karnataka 2:28.37.

Girls: Group III:

Freestyle: 50m: Tagari Baidya (Ben) 30.57s. 100m: B. Neeraja (Kar) 1:07.49. 200m: Aditi Kulkarni (Mah) 2:24.24.

Backstroke: 50m: Ruchi Shah (Mah) 35.97s. 100m: Fariha Zaman (Asm) 1:17.30.

Butterfly: 50m: Tagari Baidya (Ben) 33.07s. 100m: Parita Parekh (Guj) 1:12.51.

Breaststroke: 50m: Fenella Mollan (Mah) 40.13s. 100m: Fenella Mollan (Mah) 1:27.63.

200m Individual medley: B. Neeraja (Kar) 2:45.71.

Relays: 4 x 50m freestyle: Maharashtra 2:05.23. 4 x 50m medley: Maharashtra 2:23.40.

Group IV:

Freestyle: 50m: Kalyani Basu (Mah) 32.60s. 100m: Kalyani Basu (Mah) 1:13.43.

Backstroke: 50m: Saurabhi Tipre (Mah) 39.06s. Butterfly: 50m: Mihira Khopkar (Mah) 37.03s. Breaststroke: 50m: Kalyani Basu (Mah) 42.19s.

200m Individual medley: Kalyani Basu (Mah) 2:59.94.

Relays: 4 x 50m freestyle: Maharashtra 2:17.87. 4 x 50m medley: Maharashtra 2:35.19.

Diving: Team championships:

Boys: Group I: Maharashtra — 28 points; Group II: Karnataka 28; Group III: Maharashtra — 28.

Girls: Group I: Maharashtra — 20 points; Group II: Maharashtra — 28; Group III: Maharashtra — 23.

Best divers:

Boys: Group I: M. Manish Kumar (Ser) — 15 points; Group II: T. Hari Prasad (Kar) — 21; Group III: Krishna M. Naik (Mah) — 17.

Girls: Group I: Ashwini Mohite (Kar) — 14; Group II: Rasika Shriram (Mah) — 18; Group III: Hrutika Shriram (Mah) — 17.

The results (winners only): Boys:

High board: Group I: Tushar Gitaye (Mah) 349.75 points. Group II: T. Hari Prasad (Kar) 250.15. Group III: Krishna M. Naik (Mah) 198.35.

One-metre springboard: Group I: Tarun Saini (Del) 368.90 points. Group II: T. Hari Prasad (Kar) 258.40. Group III: Krishna M. Naik (Mah) 189.85.

Three-metre spring board: Group I: Swaraj J. Patil (Mah) 359.95 points. Group II: T. Hari Prasad (Kar) 303.55. Group III: Krishna M. Naik (Mah) 204.55.

Girls:

High board: Group I: Yogita Walunj (Mah) 276.75. Group II: Mou Bhattacharya (Ben) 210.30. Group III: Hrutika Shriram (Mah) 205.10 (NMR) (old 204.00).

One-metre spring board: Group I: Ashwini A. Mohite (Kar) 269.15. Group II: Rasika Shriram (Mah) 225.50. Group III: Hrutika Shriram (Mah) 195.95.

Three-metre spring board: Group I: Ashwini A. Mohite (Kar) 291.00. Group II: Rasika Shriram (Mah) 229.25. Group III: Sonal Sisodiya (MP) 182.90. — Kirti Patil