In the absence of some top swimmers, Olympian Maana Patel and promising swimmer Apeksha Fernandes will be among the star attractions in the 75th National Aquatics Championships starting at the Dr. Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex here on Tuesday.
Olympians Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash and Commonwealth Games participants Advait Page and Kushagra Rawat, who is doing his rehab, are among the leading names to skip the event.
According to Swimming Federation of India (SFI) secretary general Monal Choksi, since the National Games is scheduled to start later this month, some swimmers, who do not want to compete in two major competitions in a short duration, are skipping the National championships.
“These top swimmers will take part in the National Games,” said Choksi on Monday.
South Asian Games medallists Anshul Kothari, Siva S., up-and-coming Aryan Panchal and local attraction Bikram Changmai will be among the leading male swimmers to compete here.
All eyes will be on Apeksha, who emerged as the Best Swimmer among women in the last edition in Bengaluru and set five new meet records in the National junior championships in Bhubaneswar in July last.
It will be interesting to see whether Apeksha – who recently became the first Indian woman to make it to the final of an event (200m butterfly) in the World junior championships in Lima, Peru – is able to give her best despite the jetlag and frequent competitions.
Another talented swimmer Ridhima Veerendra Kumar, local hope Shivangi Sarma and experienced campaigners Maana Patel and Richa Mishra will also try to leave a mark in this elite event, featuring 699 athletes including 418 swimmers.
World championships participant Siddharth Pardesi and young talent London Singh will be athletes in focus in diving.
Water polo will have 11 men’s teams and seven women’s teams.
This event will serve as the basis for the selection of the Indian men’s side for the Asian water polo championships to be held in Thailand from November 7 to 13.