On a victory lap

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WATER BABY Pranav Kumar clinched five gold medals at the Osmania University inter- college championship
WATER BABY Pranav Kumar clinched five gold medals at the Osmania University inter- college championship

Pranav Kumar started swimming by chance, but is now one of the best swimmers in the city

Recently, V. Pranav Kumar of Vasavi Engineering College came up with a sterling display and picked up five gold medals in the Osmania University's inter-college swimming championships. The feat wasn't an unexpected one of the 18-year-old, since he has already established himself as one of the most talented swimmers in the city.

Like fish to water

He took up the sport as advised by his doctor who encouraged him to practice swimming to develop strength and endurance capacity in his lungs. But ever since he stepped into the pool there has been no looking back.In the IPS schools' conference in 1999 in Rai (Haryana), he bagged three silver medals and a year later at Ajmer (Rajasthan) he won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal. Thereafter he took part in the CBSE nationals in Jaipur and Vijayawada (where he won a silver medal in the 200 metre backstroke). The next year in Guntur he set a new meet record in the same race with a time of 2 minutes 47.0 seconds. He has also represented AP in the senior national in Kolkata in 2003 and has taken part in the national school games and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Nationals.Pravav who studied till his tenth standard in HPS Ramanthapur, shifted to Kendriya Vidyalaya, Picket, to complete his std XI and XII and this period was also one of his best phases as far as his swimming career was concerned. He is now an engineering student but his success in the sport continues.His favourite event is the 200-metre backstroke in which his best time so far is 2 minutes 44.0 seconds. "My aim is to reduce the time by about 10 seconds within the next one year," says Pranav. When training Pranav swims about five kilometres in the morning session and four to five kilometres in the evening session. "The main difference between Indian swimmers and those from Australia and USA is that they are more focussed and devote more time to their sport. ," he says.A multi talented person, Pranav is good at playing the veena and sketching. He also plays volleyball, football and water polo. He was recommended for the Presidential Award, given by the Government of India to meritorious people who excel in various fields including sports. But since no follow up could be done, the award eventually did not come his way.Pranav, an ardent fan of Olympians Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe, practices at the K.R. Health Club's pool in Sainikpuri under the guidance of coach C.S. Reddy.According to Pranav's father V. Ravi Kumar, they all treat the pool like a temple. He is all praise for the coach. Pravav's mother has been a great source of support also, often waking up at 3 a.m. to get everything ready for her son. All the good wishes should enable Pranav to go a long way in his chosen sport.ABHIJIT SEN GUPTA




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