Sajan Prakash created history by becoming the first Indian swimmer to directly qualify for the Olympics by virtue of breaching the A-qualification mark, in the 200m butterfly event. In a double delight for the contingent, Srihari Nataraj also achieved a similar feat in the 100m backstroke event.
As usual, the SFI (Swimming Federation of India) had already nominated two names for the University Places, as per the latest FINA rankings – Srihari Nataraj (Men) and Maana Patel (Women). However, for the first time, the university quota won’t be required as Sajan Prakash became the first Indian swimmer to earn a direct qualification for the Olympics by breaching the A-mark in his staple 200m butterfly event.
Sajan, who attained the rare feat at the Sette Colli Trophy, in Italy, clocked 1:56:38 in the event, which was 10 seconds faster than the Olympic A-mark of 1:56:48. His qualification initially meant that Srihari Nataraj won’t be able to qualify for the Olympics via the University quota.
However, a day after the incredible achievement, Srihari also breached the A-qualification mark by clocking 53.77 seconds in the men’s 100m backstroke event. Technically, the Bengaluru-based swimmer is through to the mega-event but is still awaiting formal confirmation from FINA.
Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj have booked their #TicketToTokyo! 🔥— JSW Sports (@jswsports) June 27, 2021
This marks the first time two Indian swimmers have earned automatic qualification for the #Olympics. Get in! 🇮🇳#BetterEveryday #OlympicSwimming pic.twitter.com/eVVfDpT5YR