Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj feels that he is currently in the best shape in his entire career, ahead of the Uzbekistan Open swimming championships this week. Till now, no Indian swimmers have qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Games, with Nataraj aiming to secure a Tokyo berth on Thursday.
Swimming has not been India’s forte in the Olympics, but the nation had regular representations in the recent past. However, while none of the Indian swimmers have been able to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics so far, Srihari Nataraj is aiming for a berth during the Uzbekistan Open swimming championships this week.
Nataraj has been through a rough phase off-late, with a year devoid of proper training owing to national lockdown, having also lost his father during the period. But now, he’s back in training and ever determined to breach the A-mark Olympic Qualification time in the upcoming event. The 20-year feels that he is currently in the best shape of his career till now.
“I had lost my pace completely (during the national lockdown). Sir (Nihar Ameen, his coach) and I had to train like it was another off-season and like I was out of form. But based on how I have been training and how I have been feeling – in the gym, during workouts, and the pool – I could say this is the best shape I have ever been in. I just did my best time in 50m backstroke (25.46s at an invitational event in Bengaluru) without a shave and a taper. That’s another sign that I am on track,” said Srihari Nataraj, as reported by Sportstar.
Srihari Nataraj is required to bridge the gap of 0.84 seconds between his career-best timing of 54.69 seconds and the Olympic A-mark of 53.85 seconds in the 100m backstroke event that is scheduled for this Thursday.