Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj is confident of attaining the Olympic A qualification mark soon and secure a quota for the mega-event in Tokyo, which begins on July 23. The swimmer recently scripted national records at the Uzbekistan Open but failed to breach the A cut, falling short by 0.22 seconds.
So far, no Indian swimmer has ever earned direct qualification to the Olympics, with all of them making a cut via quota systems. However, Srihari Nataraj came tantalisingly close to achieve the same during the recently concluded Uzbekistan Open, in Tashkent, last month, completed 0.22 seconds shy of the target in the 100m backstroke event.
However, he did script a couple of national records, in the heats with a timing of 54.10 seconds, while he clocked 54.07 seconds in the final. With time almost running out, Srihari Nataraj is confident of breaching the Olympic A qualification in the upcoming Monte Carlo (Mare Nostrum Tour) that begins on May 29.
“I thought of getting it done in the heats (in Uzbekistan) but just fell short. Maybe taking the heat so hard might have cost a bit of fatigue in the final,” said Srihari Nataraj, as reported by Hindustan Times.
“Things are uncertain but you can’t do much about it. I can only train and hope for the best. But I am confident of getting it (A mark) in my next race,” added the swimmer.