Bangalore-based Sajan Prakash has emerged as one of the Indian swimmers selected for the Glasgow commonwealth games later this year

Sajan Prakash made a big splash at the Senior National swimming championships in Thiruvananthapuram. Today the 20-year old is among the two from India (Sandeep Sejwal of Delhi being the other) to be selected to represent India at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in August.

Sajan owes it all to his mother, V.J. Shanthy Mol, an ardent athlete and batch-mate of P.T. Usha and Shiny Wilson during the mid and late 80s. “I was the adjudged ‘best athlete’ at the All India Inter university meet from 1985 to 87’ and also represented India at the World University Athletics in Russia in 1987,”says Shanthy.

“Sajan was a natural and took to any sport that he fancied like the proverbial fish to water. He was proficient in athletics too but being flat-footed, I encouraged him to take up swimming. Moreover, at Neyveli Lignite Corporation (where Shanthy Mol is working as Asst. Personnel Officer), the swimming pool and the infrastructure was in place and was the main reason for Sajan taking to the pool,” she says.

The coach, Saji Sebastian, was quick to notice Sajan’s potential. He asked him to shift to Bangalore and train under coach Pradeep Kumar at Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre (BAC) about three years ago. “Pradeep is an old classmate and I asked him to take Sajan under his wings as the boy showed potential,” says Saji.

Pradeep Kumar, the chief National coach quips, “The last nationals have been the highpoint of his career so far. He is talented and having made the qualification standard for the Commonwealth Games augurs well,” he adds.

Sajan says. “I want to qualify for the final and finish among the top six.” He adds, “I was into sprints (50m butterfly and freestyle) early on when I started serious swimming but long distance was my calling. I managed to switch to the 400m fly and freestyle and even won a gold in the 800m freestyle at the last nationals. I have now qualified for the Glasgow Games in the 400m freestyle. It has all been possible with the fantastic coaching at the BAC and the facilities available here.” With the thin frame that he possesses, Sajan is ideally suited for the longer distances, but that is the call that he along with his coaches would like to take

He is talented and having made the qualification standard for the Commonwealth Games augurs well

Pradeep Kumar