Asian Age Group C'ships: Srihari, Sajan and Kushagra clinch gold

With the swimmers continuing their gold-winning spree, India finished the day with four golds, four silvers and four bronzes to take its total overall tally to 40.

Srihari Nataraj strikes a pose after winning the gold medal in the 100m backstroke at 10th Asian Age Group Championships.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Srihari Nataraj, as promised, delivered the gold in the men’s 100m backstroke, but fell short of the A-mark Olympic Qualification Time on the third day of the 10th Asian Age Group Swimming Championship here on Thursday.

The 55.06 he swam was faster than the previous meet record by 0.83 seconds but was more than a second off the time required to secure an Olympic berth (53.85).

Later in the evening, he finished a creditable third in the 100m freestyle (50.91), a race in which Virdhawal Khade secured the silver with 50.68.

“Not disappointed,” said Srihari about the backstroke result. “I expected a faster time but there is nothing to be disappointed with. This is my third fastest time [ever]. I gave my 100 per cent and tried my best. The competition was a lot tougher than what I thought it would be. I didn’t expect a fellow 55s backstroker to be here. So it was exciting.”

Another of the Olympic hopefuls, Sajan Prakash, clinched the gold in the 200m butterfly but wouldn’t be very pleased with his timing.

He clocked 2:00.38, which was 0.25 seconds slower than his effort at the Senior Nationals earlier this month, a result he had termed “very disappointing.”

Kushagra Rawat meanwhile continued his gold-winning spree by coming first in 400m freestyle. The teenager has now swept all four freestyle races at the championship and has an opportunity to add a relay gold on Friday.

On the day, India won four golds, four silvers and four bronzes to take its total overall tally to 40 (12G, 16S, 12B).

The results (Indians unless specified): Men: Freestyle: 100m: 1. Khurshidjon Tursunov (Uzb) 50.56, 2. Virdhawal Khade, 50.68, 3. Srihari Nataraj 50.91; 400m: 1. Khushagra Rawat 3:55.81, 2. Chang Cheng Li Wei (Tpe) 3:56.89, 3. Abbas Omar (Syr) 4:01.52; Backstroke: 100m: 1. Srihari Nataraj 55.06 (NMR; OR: Sudartawa, 55.89, 2015, 2. Atayev Merdan (Trk) 55.28, 3. Lau Shiu Yue (Hkg) 57.56. Butterfly: 200m: 1. Sajan Prakash 2:00.38, 2. Wongcharoen Navaphat (Tha) 2:01.16, 3. Klzie Ayman (Syr) 2:02.38; 4x100m medley: 1. India 3:46.49, 2. Thailand 3:48.89, Hong Kong 3:53.99.

Women: Freestyle: 100m: 1. Junkrajang Natthanan (Tha) 57.23; 2. Nguyen Diep Phuong Tram (Vei) 57.87, 3. Srisa Ard Jenjira (Tha) 58.93; 400m: 1. Junkrajang Natthanan (Tha) 4:23.45, 2. Himathongkom Ammiga (Tha) 4:26.97, 3. Shivani Kataria 4:27.16; Backstroke: 100m: 1. Nguyen Diep Phuong Tram (Vie) 1:04.89, 2. Maana Patel 1:05.08, 3. Boonamphai Saovanee (Tha) 1:05.55; Butterfly: 200m: 1. Kittiya Patarawadee (Tha) 2:19.17, 2. Nimdam Kanitta (Tha) 2:25.23, 3. Wong Ching Lam Athena (Hkg) 2:25.23; 4x100 Medley: 1. Thailand 4:23.23, 2. India 4:26.69, 3. Hong Kong 4:31.19.

4x100 Mixed Freestyle: 1. Japan 3:46.29, 2. Hong Kong 3:48.48, 3. Thailand 3:50.98.

Other Indian medallists: Group I: Boys: Butterfly: 200m: 2. Tanish George (Ind) 2:03.31; Group II: Boys: Backstroke: 200m: 3. Devansh Parmar 2:12.90; Girls: Breaststroke: 200m: 3. Apeksha Fernandes 2:40.38.