A 13-member Indian team, including Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj, will leave for Tashkent on Friday to compete at the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championship, a Tokyo Olympic qualifying event.
Starting from April 12 in the Uzbekistan capital, it is a FINA accredited Olympic qualifier.
Apart from Olympic B qualifiers Nataraj and Prakash who are hoping to make the A qualification for the Tokyo Games, the team comprises other seniors like Maana Patel, Shivani Kataria and a few TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) development group swimmers.
The team is accompanied by seasoned coaches Nihar Ameen, Pradeep Kumar and Asian Games medallist swimmer turned coach Sandeep Sejwal, a media release said.
This will be the first international meet for Indian swimmers since the COVID-19 lockdown in March last year.
The top Indian swimmers have been in a national camp organised by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) since January 11 at the TOPS National Centre of Excellence here.
While their counterparts across the world resumed their training in June-July, the Indian swimmers headed back into the water only in November due to the COVID-19 protocols put in place in the country.
"With most international meets not accessible to Indian swimmers due to host countries limiting entries or travel restrictions due to COVID, our swimmers have to make the most of any racing opportunity that will come their way," SFI executive director Virender Nanavati said.
SFI secretary general Monal Chokshi emphasised on the significance of this meet in Tashkent.
"This meet in Uzbekistan is of significance and SFI, with the support of the government, is working on all such opportunities for the Olympic hopefuls and also keeping in consideration the probable for the upcoming Asian Games in 2022." "The Indian squad for this international meet is in good form from the national camp and we are expecting some good results from this meet in Uzbekistan.
"Both Sajan Prakash and Srihari Natraj have once again broken the B qualification in their early season meets after the lockdown, they will be expecting to go much faster at this championship in Tashkent," Chokshi added.
Squad: Seniors: Srihari Nataraj (50m & 100m Backstroke),Sajan Prakash (200m Butterfly, 200m & 400m Freestyle), Adhithya D (50m & 100m Butterfly), Likhit S P (50m & 100m Breaststroke), Dhanush S (50m & 100m Breaststroke), Anand A S(50m & 100m Freestyle), Maana Patel (50m & 100m Backstroke), Divya Sathija (50m & 100m Butterfly), Shivani Kataria (50m, 100m & 200m Freestyle), Chahat Arora (50m & 100m Breaststroke)
Juniors: Kenisha Gupta (50m, 100m & 200m Freestyle), Suvarna Bhaskar (50m, 100m & 200m Backstroke), Tanish George Mathew (50m, 100m & 200 Freestyle, 50m, 100m & 200 Butterfly).
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