Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: M.B. Balakrishnan of Tamil Nadu set a new record in the men’s 50m backstroke with a time of 27.58s in the LIC 62nd senior National aquatics championship at the GMC Balayogi Sports Complex in Gachibowli here on Saturday. Showing excellent technique and power Balakrishnan surged his way ahead in the early stages of the race and erased the old mark of 27.63 seconds set by Arjun Muralidhar in 2006.

“I felt from the start that I would win the race easily but when I was able to register a record performance, it came as a pleasant surprise to me. It will be a big morale booster to my career,” said Balakrishnan.

Poncha on song

Rehan Poncha continued to rule the pool and highlighted the fact that he is one of the best swimmers in the country at present. He shattered his own meet record in the men’s 200m individual medley. Poncha clocked 2:8.13s to erase his earlier mark of 2:8.80s.

Another swimmer who caught the eye was Fariha Zaman of Assam who eclipsed Shikha Tandon’s mark in the women’s 50m backstroke. Fariha clocked 31.22 seconds as against the old mark of 31.32 seconds set by Shikha five years ago.

A delighted Fariha said later that it was a dream come true for her. She said that in the previous Nationals she had finished third and was thrilled that this time she had not only won the gold but also broken the record.

The results: Men: 200m individual medley: 1 Rehan Poncha (Kar) 2:8.13s (NMR), 2. J. Agnishwar (TN) 2:10.15, 3. Aditya Sangvekar (RSPB) 2:16.28. (OR: 2:8.80, Rehan Poncha, 2007); 50m backstroke: 1. M.B. Balakrishnan (TN) 27.58s (NMR), 2. N.A. Sandeep (TN) 28.29, 3. Sunil (SSCB) 28.72. (OR: Arjun Muralidhar, 27.63, 2006); 50m freestyle: 1. T.A. Sujith (SSCB) 24.16s, 2. J.P. Arjun (Kar) 24.38, 3. N.A. Sandeep (Kar) 24.77; 4x100m medley relay: 1. Karnataka (Rehan Poncha, J.P. Arjun, Aaron D’Souza, Ashwin Menon) 4:05.97s, 2. SSCB (Sunil, S.P. Lanka, Ratheesh, Sujith) 4:06:97, 3. Police (Tarun, Patra, Rohit Kumar, C.H. Vinay) 4:09.22.

Diving (3m spring board): 1. T. Hari Prasad (RSPB) 317.05 points, 2. S. Rabi Kumar Singh (RSPB) 300, 3. Manish Kumar (SSCB) 276.85.

Women: 200m individual medley: 1. Richa Mishra (Police) 2:28.08s, 2. Pooja R. Alva (Kar) 2:30.39, 3. Tejaswini (Kar) 2:37.20; 50m backstroke: 1. Fariha Zaman (Assam) 31:22s (NMR), 2. C. Ayshwarya (TN) 32:28, 3. Amreen Malik (AP) 32.84. (OR: Shikha Tandon, 31.32s, 2003); 50m freestyle: 1. C. Shubha (Kar) 27:95s, 2. Talash Prabhu (Goa) 28.30, 3. Fariha Zaman (Assam) 28.49; 4x100m medley relay: 1. Karnataka (Madhavi Giri, Tejaswini, Arhatha Magavi, Shubha) 4:45.79s, 2. Tamil Nadu (C. Ayshwarya, M.M. Venpa, Aditi, Gulnaz) 4:52.16, 3. Maharashtra (Jyotsna, Purva, Rujuta, Bhat) 4:55.44s.

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