Karnataka favourite to win National swimming championship

For a change, Services is eyeing a first-ever men’s overall championship ahead of a dominant Railways. In all, Karnataka remains the strongest contender for the overall championship.

Richa Mishra, holder of six National records, will be watched with added interest at the National championship. (File Photo)   -  SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH

For any host, the return of the senior National championship after a 25-year interval should be reason enough to celebrate. Ironically, the in-fighting in the Madhya Pradesh Swimming Association (MPSA) almost turned this premier meet into a non-starter.

What saved the situation was a Thursday afternoon court-order that maintained status quo, with the present office-bearers of the MPSA cleared to conduct the championship. Interestingly, the order came after several swimmers had landed here for the meet beginning on Saturday.

“Had the court order been any different, I was prepared to call off the meet immediately,” thundered an otherwise unemotional Virender Nanawati, the CEO of the Swimming Federation of India.

With the cloud of uncertainty cleared, it’s show-time now. For five days, the best of Indian swimming will be on view at the Prakash swimming pool. The diving events will be held at Indore.

For a change, Services is eyeing a first-ever men’s overall championship ahead of a dominant Railways. In all, Karnataka remains the strongest contender for the overall championship.

Karnataka-lad Srihari Nataraj along with comeback-lady Richa Mishra, holder of six National records, will be watched with added interest, and the bigger boys from Services and Railways are expected to fight close battles.

Railways, this time without Sajan Prakash who joined Kerala Police, is expecting more from Aditi Dhoomatkar, Avantika Chavan and Shreyanti Pan to swell its overall medal-tally.

With the Railway duo of Sandeep Sejwal and Aaron D’ Souza taking part in only a couple of individual events, besides the relays, more is expected from Viraj Prabhu, Sarma S. P. Nair and Sanu Debnath. For Services, the well-established quartet of P. S. Madhu,  Arvind Mani, A. S. Anand and Vinay Saharan, along with Nitesh Kunte are the ones to look out for.