Sajan Prakash achieves B-mark for Tokyo 2020, Srihari Nataraj sets two national records

Srihari Nataraj's national record-setting performances, however, only yielded him 34th and 32nd rank at the end of the heats and weren't enough to qualify for the final.

Srihari Nataraj competes in a heat for the men's 200m backstroke event during the 2019 World Championships at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, South Korea.   -  AFP

Srihari Nataraj bettered his national record in the 50m and 200m backstroke events and Sajan Prakash achieved the Olympic Standard Time (B-mark), in what were the only positives for India at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Srihari registered a timing of 25.83s, an improvement of .01 micro second on his existing national record. The Bangalore-based swimmer managed to shave off .29 microseconds with a new mark of 2:02.08 in the 200m backstroke. The 18-year-old's national record-setting performances could only yield him a 34th and a 32nd rank at the end of the heats and weren't enough to qualify for the final. In the 100m backstroke, he couldn't better his mark with a 55.55 effort and finished 36th overall.

While there is no 50m backstroke event, he still needs to improve by a second ( 2:01.03) to make the Olympic Selection Time (B-Mark) and 4.58 seconds qualify directly for the Olympics. A Universality place looks like the most plausible route for Tokyo 2020.

Read: Officials mess up lap count, swimmers forced to repeat 1500m event

Sajan Prakash, who competed in the 2016 Olympics, didn't rewrite his personal best marks but did enough in the 200m butterfly (1:58.45) to make the OST cut. According to the Olympic qualification process, a swimmer meeting the OST was eligible for entry, and their entry was allotted/filled in by ranking.

While Virdhawal Khade and S.P. Likith came within a second of their personal best, they finished 40 and above in their respective categories. Virdhawal, 28, finished 50th in the 50m freestyle and performed better for a 41st-place finish in the 50m butterfly.

Virdhawal could have made the OST cut if he came closer or emulated his personal best time of 22.43 which he registered at the Asian Games. The current OST is 22.67 and his best performance came outside the qualification period.

Likith needs to improve by more than a second to make the OST in the 100m breaststroke event.

Advait Page, who made the B-mark in 800m freestyle for Olympics at the Singapore Championships in June this year with a stupendous 8:00.76, finished nearly 10 seconds slower at the FINA Championships. Kushagra Rawat was the first Indian to make the B-standard for Tokyo 2020 with a 8:07.99 effort in the 800m freestyle category at the Thailand Age Group Championships in Bangkok in April. He competed in the 400m freestyle category at the world Championships and finished 37th. 

If a country has no swimmers who meet either of the qualifying standards, it may enter one male and one female.

FINA 2019 Championships Results: Indians only

Advait Page

Men's 800m Freestyle (PB 8:00.76)

Rank 29, Time: 8:10.35 - 24.65s behind Qualification topper

Virdhawal Khade

Men's 50m Freestyle (PB 22.43)

Rank 50, Time: 22.95 - 1.46s behind

Men's 50m Butterfly (PB 24.09)

Rank 41, Time: 24.41 - 1.57s behind

Srihari Nataraj

Men's 50m Backstroke (PB 25.84)

Rank 34,  Time: 25.83 - 1.22s behind

Men's 100m Backstroke (PB 55.49)

Rank 36, Time: 55.55 - 2.70s behind. 

Men's 200m Backstroke (PB 2:02.37)

Rank 32,  Time: 2:02.08 - 5.47s behind

Aryan Nehra

Men's 1500m Freestyle (PB 15:38.56 )

Rank 32, Time: 15:59.47 - 1:13.67 behind

Sajan Prakash

Men's 200m Freestyle (PB 1:50.35)

Rank tied-49, Time: 1:52.34 - 6.16s  behind 

Men's 100m Butterfly (PB 53.46)

Rank 41, Time: 54.30 - 4.02s behind

Men's 200m Butterfly (PB 1:57.73 )

Rank 24,  Time: 1:58.45 - 4.26s behind 

Kushagra Rawat

Men's 400m Freestyle (PB 3:56.10)

Rank: 37 - Time:  3:59:30s - 15.29s behind

S.P. Likhith

Men's 50m Breaststroke ( PB - 28.05 )

Rank 42, Time: 28.44 - 2.16s behind

Men's 100m Breaststroke  ( PB: 1:02.02  )

Rank 52, Time: 1:02:90 - 5.31s behind