Sajan Prakash becomes first Indian swimmer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics


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Sajan Prakash on June 26, 2021 became the first-ever Indian swimmer to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics by breaching the ‘A’ standard time. 

He achieved the feat by clocking 1:56:38 in men’s 200m butterfly at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy.

The 27-year-old made it into Tokyo Olympic Games ‘A’ standard, the qualification cut-off for which was set at 1:56.48 seconds, by 0.10 seconds at the FINA-accredited Olympic qualifier.

The Swimming Federation of India tweeted saying that it is a historic moment in Indian swimming. “Sajan Prakash breaks the glass ceiling clocks 1:56.38 an Olympic qualification time,” read the tweet. 

Sports Authority of India (SAI) tweeted, “Many congratulations to sajan who becomes the 1st Indian swimmer to qualify for Tokyo2020 as he clocks 1:56:38 in men’s 200m butterfly at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome. The qualification cut-off was 1:56:48. Way to go champ!” 

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju also congratulated the swimmer and hailed the commitment of our athletes towards makin India proud. 

Significance

Sajan Prakash by clocking historic 1:56:38s broke his own national record of 1:56.96s that he had set last week during the Belgrade Trophy swimming competition.

Key Facts

• This will be the second time that Sajan Prakash will be representing India at the Olympics, as he had participated earlier in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

• He will participate in the Tokyo Games alongside Maana Patel, who has been nominated by the Swimming Federation of India for the Universality places.

• His direct qualification means Srihari Nataraj, who missed the ‘A’ qualification in the 100m men’s backstroke by 0.05s in Rome will not be competing in the Tokyo Games despite being nominated for the Universality places.

What is the Universality quota?

Under Universality quota, one male and one female competitor can be nominated from a country to participate in the Olympics, provided no other swimmer from the same gender qualifies for the Games or receives a FINA invite based on his or her Olympic Selection time (B time).

Background

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021 and conclude on August 8, 2021. The event was originally scheduled to take place last year but was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 





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