Swimming: Sandeep, Supriya make 'B' cut in Malaysia

In their first international event of the year, both of them won gold medals in their respective events at the 59th Malaysian Open Swimming Championships. The swimmers now have to secure ‘A’ mark to ensure direct qualification to Rio Olympics.

It is for the second successive time that Sandeep Sejwal has surpassed the 'B' qualification mark for Rio Olympics.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Swimmers Sandeep Sejwal and Supriya Mondal have surpassed the ‘B’ qualification mark for the 2016 Olympics at the 59th Malaysian Open Swimming Championships in Selangor, Malaysia on Thursday.

It is, in fact, for the second time that Sandeep Sejwal has made the 'B' cut. Three Indians — Sandeep Sejwal, Virdhawal Khade, Sajan Prakash — had surpassed the 'B' qualification mark during the World Championship at Kazan in August last year.

Competing in their first international event of the year, both the Indian swimmers also won gold medals in their respective events. Sandeep clocked a meet record time of 1:02.45s in 100m breaststroke, while Supriya dished out a National record breaking performance of 2:00.54s in 200m butterfly.

The talented duo currently train under Dronacharya Awardee coach Nihar Ameen at Dolphin Aquatics in Bangalore and will feature next at the 2016 Japan Open Swimming Championship scheduled to be held in Tokyo between May 20-22.

Sandeep is a bronze medallist from the 2014 Asian Games and an Arjuna Awardee, while young Supriya has represented India at the 2014 Youth Olympics and last year won silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

Speaking after the event, an elated Nihar Ameen said, “The success of both Sandeep and Supriya is a testament to their dedication to practice and the commitment towards putting their best foot forward at every training session.

Having surpassed the ‘B’ mark our next aim is to secure ‘A’ mark and ensure direct qualification to the 2016 Olympics.”

Both Sandeep and Supriya are part of the GoSports Foundation’s Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme presented by Aditya Birla Financial Services.

The programme provides financial support, access to top sport science expertise and mentorship and guidance to talented Indian athletes from across Olympic disciplines.