Leading swimmers Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal, along with their coach Nihar Ameen, have cut short their training stint in Frankfurt, Germany, and scheduled to return home soon, owing to the bleak scenario of India getting entries for the London Games.
All four Indian swimmers, with Aaron d’Souza and Saurabh Sangvekar being the other two, had achieved the ‘B’ qualifying standard for the Olympics. However, they do not figure in the list of about 200 swimmers announced by the International Swimming Federation, FINA, in the ‘B’ standard and Olympic Selection Time (OST).
FINA had originally announced six swimmers in each of the 26 events in the OST category, and has been adding more names to the list in various events, on the basis of a merit list. Virdhawal Khade, who had won an Asian Games medal in Guangzhou, has been closest in the 100m freestyle event with his qualification time of 50.02 seconds.
The seventh swimmer cleared in the ‘B’ list for the event, he made it with a time of 49.56 seconds. Quite significantly, the last three swimmers in the ‘B’ list of the event have been clubbed within 0.05 seconds of one another, which should give a fair indication of Khade’s status. In the 100m breaststroke, eight swimmers have made the cut with OST, with the eighth making the grade with a time of 1:01.51. Sandeep Sejwal had clocked 1:02.26. The eighth swimmer in the 200m breaststroke made it with a time of 2:13.40, while Sejwal had clocked 2:16.16 in the Malaysian Open in coming under the stipulated mark.
The agonising wait for the Indian swimmers may continue, perhaps till the last date of filing entries on July 9.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics