December 8, 2022

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Swimming – Girls’s 100m Backstroke – Heats – Tokyo Aquatics Centre – Tokyo, Japan – July 25, 2021. Maana Patel of India in motion REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

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TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) – Indian swimmers Maana Patel and Srihari Nataraj made their debut on the Tokyo Video games within the 100m backstroke heats on Sunday, a feat for his or her residence nation, with each blissful to take part regardless that they did not progress to the semifinals.

Patel and Nataraj, along with Sajan Prakash within the 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m butterfly, make up the biggest Indian Olympic swimming cohort since 2008, when 4 swimmers certified.

Nataraj and Prakash each certified for Tokyo by making the Olympics A reduce, a primary for India.

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Patel, who certified through the universality quota and who was racing at her first Olympics, swam a time of 1:05.20 for the 100m backstroke.

“I’m fairly blissful as a result of it was my finest time … Going into the warmth I used to be actually fidgety and shivering, frankly. All of the feelings piled up and I used to be overwhelmed,” the 21-year outdated stated after her race.

“However I’m blissful as a result of I gave my 100%… Even when I don’t make it to finals, I’m blissful to be right here.”

The universality quota permits one feminine and male participant every from a rustic to participate within the Olympics, if no different swimmer of the identical gender qualifies for the competitors by means of the conventional course of.

Nataraj positioned fifth in his warmth in a time of 54.31 however the 20-year outdated was not fast sufficient to progress to the semis.

“It was tremendous and never so nice on the identical time. I felt prepared for the race however I didn’t really feel prefer it clicked. Possibly I let the stress get to me. I’m dissatisfied however I can stay with it,” he stated after his race.

Prakash, who competed within the Rio Video games, has wiped seconds off his occasions in current months. The 27-year outdated registered for the Olympic A reduce for the 200m butterfly, which he’ll race on Monday.

India has been hit laborious by the pandemic, which swept the world’s second-most populous nation final yr, leaving athletes caught in a prolonged shut down. Infections have surged once more in a devastating second wave in 2021 with swimming pools shut for prolonged durations.

Requested in regards to the influence of the coronavirus on coaching in India, Nataraj stated it had made it a lot tougher.

“We had been out of the water for seven months and even this yr there was loads of breaks with the swimming pools being shut down.”

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Reporting by Farah Grasp in Hong Kong and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Enhancing by Hugh Lawson

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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