Gagan joins Commonwealth qualifiers
A.P. Gagan may have fallen short of setting the national record in the 1500m freestyle but had the satisfaction of making the Commonwealth Games squad with a personal best effort on the concluding day of the Federation Cup aquatic championship at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee aquatic centre here on Thursday.
The Karnakata swimmer, winner of the 400m freestyle on Tuesday, clocked 16:07.78 seconds to stay outside Mandar Divase's record of 16:06.54 set in the National championship last October.
On the brighter side, Gagan attained the qualification mark of 16:18.34, being the time of eighth-place finisher of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
He joins Sandeep Sejwal (in 200m breaststroke) and Rohit Havaldar (200m backstroke) who made the ‘cut' on Tuesday. More male swimmers are likely to meet the mark in the National championship in Jaipur next month.
However, no woman swimmer is appears promising enough to qualify. The Swimming Federation of India plans to field around five woman swimmers in the Games as host entries.
On a day when results came on expected lines, Virdhawal Khade collected two more titles to finish with four medals. The 18-year-old, however, could not come anywhere close to clocking his personal best in any of the events over the past three days.
Sejwal faced some challenge from Puneet Rana on the way to the 100m breast stroke gold. Had he been pushed a little more, Sejwal could have well improved his own National record.
M.B. Balakrishnan clocked an impressive 0:58.50 to add the 100m backstroke title to the 50m backstroke title he won on Wednesday with an improved National record. Significantly, the Tamil Nadu swimmer's time was inside the National championship record of 0:59.12 set by Rehan Poncha in 2008.
In the women's section, Fariha Zaman completed the backstroke ‘double' while Pooja Alva collected the individual medley ‘double' after dominating the eight-lapper.
Pooja was the favourite once National record holder Richa Mishra chose to stay away from the event.
The results: Finals: Men: 100m freestyle: 1. Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 0:51.32; 2. Anshul Kothari (Guj) 0:52.87; 3. Rohit Havaldar (Kar) 0:54.62; 1500m freestyle: 1. A. P. Gagan (Kar) 16:07.78; 2. Merwyn Chen (Rlys) 16:59.68; 3. Sanu Debnath (Ben) 17.14.11. 100m backstroke: 1. M. B. Balakrishnan (TN) 0:58.50; 2. Rohit Havaldar (Kar) 1:00.40; 3. Praveen Tokas (Rlys) 1:02.14; 100m breaststroke: 1. Sandeep Sejwal (Rlys) 1:04.47; 2. Puneet Rana (Pun) 1:05.48; 3. J. P. Arjun (Rlys) 1:08.31; 100m butterfly: 1. Virdhawal Khade (Mah) 0:56.09; 2. Sumanto Nath (Rlys) 0:58.77; 3. Tarun Tokas (Del) 0:59.04; 4x200m freestyle relay: 1. Railways (8:36.40); 2. Services (8:44.27); 3. Delhi (8:59.93). Diving: Three-metre Springboard: 1. M. Manesh Kumar (Ser) 234.65 points; 2. T. Hari Prasad (Rlys) 227.70; 3. Y. Hemjit Meitei (Jha) 223.00.
Women: 100m freestyle: 1. Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 0:59.94; 2. Richa Mishra (Pol) 1:01:05; 3. T. Sneha (Kar) 1:01.05; 100m backstroke: 1. Fariha Zaman (Kar) 1:09.46; 2. Heta Davey (MP) 1:10.69; 3. Amreen Malik (AP) 1:12.62; 100m breaststroke: 1. Priyanka Priyadarshini (Del) 1:20.90; 2. G. Pranathi Bhagavathi (AP) 1:30.85; 3. Baby Kumari (Bih) 1:30.93; 100m butterfly: 1. Subha Chittaranjan (Kar) 1:06.29; 2. T. Sneha (Kar) 1:09.48; 3. Harpreet Kaur (Del) 1:10.64; 400m Individual Medley: 1. Pooja Alva (Kar) 5:22.47; 2. Harpreet Kaur (Del) 5:35.52; 3. S. Dharini (TN) 5:45.56; 4x200m freestyle relay: 1. Karnataka (9:27.75); 2. Delhi (10:22.45), 3. A.P. (11.12.35). Diving: Three-metre Springboard: 1. Hrutika Shriram (Rlys) 151.45 points; 2. Karishma Mohite (Kar) 148.25; 3. Swati Vidap (Mah) 119.10.