Olympian Sajan Prakash (Kerala) and Astha Choudhury (Assam) prevented a clean sweep by Karnataka on the opening day of the swimming events of the 36th National Games at the Sardar Patel Aquatic complex here on Sunday.
The first day also saw five new games record being rewritten with Astha Choudhury setting two meet records on her way to gold in 100m butterfly event. Sajan made up for his disappointment in 200m freestyle by winning the 100m butterfly. However, the Kerala swimmer was not at his best, failing to break his own meet record in the event.
It was a memorable event for national champion Aneesh S.Gowda to beat his hero Sajan Prakash in the 200m freestyle. Aneesh stalked Sajan at the start and then pulled ahead after 100 metres. The Karnataka lad finished strongly to set a new mark as Sajan Prakash faded away. Aneesh clocked 1:51.88s to break Aaron D’Souza’s old mark (1:52.06s) set in 2015.
The 18-year-old Astha Choudhury warmed up by setting a new mark (1:03.90s) in the heats in the morning. However, in the final, Astha trailed Nina Venkatesh after the first 5O metres but the Assam girl found momentum after 60 metres and pulled ahead of the field to finish strongly with a new record (1.03.37s).
Karnataka’s Hashika Ramachandra came up with a commanding show to set a new mark in women’s 200m freestyle. Dhindihi Desinghu managed to stay afloat with Hashika initially but it became a one horse race after the 100 metres. Hashika powered ahead to finish in 2:07.08 and broke Shivani Kataria’s old mark (2:07.46) set in 2015.
The men’s 4x100m freestyle saw Tamil Nadu push Karnataka till the end and it needed a superlative effort from Olympian Srihari Nataraj in the final leg to ensure gold for his State. Karnataka quartet of Aneesh S. Gowda, R. Sambhavv, M. Prithvi and Srihari Nataraj set a new games record (3:27.32) in the process. Karnataka easily won the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay by setting a new meet record. The team comprising. S. Rujula, Lattiesha Mandanna, Nina Venkatesh and Ridhima clocked 4:10.03 to break the old record (4:04.57) set by Maharashtra in 2015.