Veerdhawal Khade kept his date with the clock, going under the ‘B’ mark for the 2013 world championships at Barcelona in 50m freestyle. The Kolhapur-based Olympian was unstoppable, amidst churning waters, en route to registering 22.84secs against the qualifying criteria of 23.11 at the 66th Enerzal senior National aquatics championship.
The National (22.55) and meet records (22.71) now remain in his custody.
Talasha Prabhu from Panaji won the women’s 50m freestyle in 27.76 on the fourth day at the Balewadi pool, proving that talent knows no barrier as long as young Indians take the initiative and create avenues to hone technique and gain confidence.
Boosted by sponsorship from the Dempo Group, her decision to shift base to Bangalore from Goa five years ago for full-time focus on swimming is paying off for the 19-year-old, guided by National coach Pradeep Kumar.
Richa Mishra was far beyond the reach of her younger rivals in 1500m freestyle, swelling her gold medal haul with 17:46.76 in the morning session.
M. Balakrishnan, the meet record-holder in 100m backstroke with 58.30, won his second gold clocking a slower 58.97. Aaron D’Souza stepped atop the podium for the first time in four days in individual events, pushing challenger Sandeep Sejwal to second in the 200m individual medley. Leading from start to finish, the champion won in 2:07.38, four seconds ahead of his closest rival.
Hoping for the best
Khade, with a smile on his face, hoped his showing so far would be good enough to win a place in the starting line-up for the 2013 championships. “It feels good to win by almost a second. I need to keep performing and hope for the best,” he said, before walking off for a dope test. A joyous Talasha said, “The 50m freestyle is my favourite event and now I can look forward to the Asian championships to lower my timing.” She won a close race, sneaking ahead to win from Shivani Kataria and Aditi Dhumatkar (all three clocking 27+).
The results: Men: 50m freestyle: 1. Veerdhawal Khade (Mah) 22.84, 2. Anshul Kothari (Guj) 24.04, 3. Arjun JP (RSPB) 24.12; 100m backstroke: 1. M Balakrishnan (TN) 58.97, 2. Rohit Havaldar (Kar) 1:00.60, 3. Rohit Imoliya (MP) 1:00.73; 200m IM: 1. Aaron D’Souza (Kar) 2:07.38, 2. Sandeep Sejwal (RSPB) 2:11.38, 3. M. Arvind (Kar) 2:12.95.
Women: 50m freestyle: 1. Talasha Prabhu (Goa) 27.76, 2. Shivani Kataria (Har) 27.81, 3. Aditi Dhumatkar (Mah) 27.85; 100m backstroke: 1. Jyotsna Pansare (Mah) 1:07.69, 2. Arti Ghorpade (Mah) 1:08.12, 3. Sony Cyriac (Ker) 1:08.97; 200m IM: 1. Pooja Alva (Kar) 2:28.30, 2. A. Jayaveena (TN) 2:29.06, 3. V. Meenakshi (TN) 2:32.25; 1500 freestyle: 1. Richa Mishra (Pol) 17:46.76, 2. Surabhi Tipre (Kar) 18:03.13, 3. Aakansha Vora (Mah) 18:51.67.
Water polo (league): Men: Police bt Kerala 6-2, RSPB bt Manipur 8-0, SSCB bt Karnataka 6-2, Maharashtra bt Delhi 10-3; Women: Kerala bt Delhi 10-0, Maharashtra bt Karnataka 2-1, Police bt Manipur 18-0.
Medals position (day four): Maharashtra (11 gold, 5 silver, 10 bronze); Karnataka (10, 11, 7); Police (5, 1, 4); RSPB (3, 6, 3); Tamil Nadu (2, 4, 5).