Kushagra Rawat was the star for India with two golds on the opening day of the Asian Age Group Swimming Championship at the Padukone-Dravid Center for Sports Excellence here on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old, who has already achieved the B-mark Olympic Standard Time in 800m freestyle, set a new meet record by clocking 8:10.05s. But it was his performance in the 200m freestyle earlier in the evening, where he pipped his Syrian opponent by three-hundredth of a second, that caught the eye. His timing of 1:52.30s was a new personal best, better by 0.6 seconds.
“I caught up in the last 75 metres,” said Rawat later. “I saw the person next to me and pushed. I believed I had so much left in me so I just went all out. I wanted to go 1:50-1:51 but happy with 1.52. It was the first gold for India and I’m really happy.”
Elsewhere, Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel claimed golds in the men’s and women’s 50m backstroke events respectively. While Srihari came home in 25.30s, Maana finished in 29.92.
India’s other two gold medals on the day came in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay (Srihari, Anand Anilkumar, Sajan Prakash and Virdhawal Khade) and through Shoan Ganguly in the Group II boys 200m individual medley.
The hosts also added six silvers and six bronze medals to take its first day medal tally to a creditable 18.