S. P. Likith achieves 'B' standard for FINA World Championships

The Indian swimmer turns in a career-best performance to claim gold in the men's 100m breaststroke at the Malaysia Open Swimming Championships.

S. P. Likith looks set to represent India at the World Championships in July, 2019. Photo: Special Arrangement

Indian swimmer S.P. Likith achieved the 'B' qualifying standard for the 2019 FINA World Championships in the men's 100m breaststroke at the 62nd Malaysia Open Swimming Championships in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Likith turned in a career-best performance to claim gold, his time of 1:02.02 inside the 'B' standard of 1:02.05. The 20-year-old led by a body length at the turn but had to battle hard to hold off Singapore's Jing Fu Ng (1:02.34) on the home stretch.

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With no other active Indian swimmer holding a 'B' mark in the same event, Likith, who trains at the Nettakallappa Aquatic Centre (NAC) here, looks set to represent India at the World Championships in South Korea in July.

"Everything came together today. We had worked hard for it," Likith said. "I'm now hoping to achieve the B-standard (28.35) in the 50m breaststroke as well."

There was a second winner from Karnataka on the day, with Srihari Natraj claiming the gold in the men's 50m backstroke. Srihari won in a time of 25.84, thereby achieving the 'B' qualification standard of 26.05 comfortably. Srihari has already met the 'B' standard in the 100 and 200m backstroke events.