India secured 52 medals to record their best-ever medal tally at the 10th Asian Age Group Championship as the swimming events came to an end at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence here on Friday.
The hosts finished with 15 golds, 19 silvers and 18 bronze medals to finish fourth in the standing and better their previous best of 40. Japan topped the table with 79 medals (47 gold, 17 silver, 15 bronze).
Kushagra Rawat clinched his fifth gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay and was adjudged the best swimmer in the Open category.
Srihari Nataraj clinched his third gold in the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:04.25 to finish ahead of Siva S (2:05.23) for an Indian one-two. Lau Shiu Yue (2:07.68) finished third.
Divya Satija came third in the 50m butterfly event but broke her own previous national record in the event. The swimmer stopped the clock at 28.77 to better the previous best Indian time of 28.33 which she set in the Senior Nationals in Bhopal three weeks ago.
“This is my first international meet. I wasn’t scared because when you’re doing it for the first time, I wanted to know what it feels like representing India. My aim was to just give my best,” said Divya.
Virdhawal Khade also ended the event with a gold in the 50m butterfly event, touching the pad in 24.22 to finish ahead of Kham Abdulrazzaq Waleed (24.64) of Kuwait and Ansari Mehdi (24.77) of Iran.
Speaking about the performance, Indian national coach Pradeep Kumar S remarked: “Overall, it was satisfactory. We got well past the best performance (medal tally).”
While the competition in the Open category was not the highest level, the age group witnessed some tough battles. There were 24 medals on offer in the age group with Shoan Ganguly winning the lone gold for India. There were no medals for Group I girls.
“It’s a fact that the competition was not very high in the open category but in the junior section, all the team’s were full strength,” Pradeep admitted. “For many of them, it was the first international event. For swimmers like Sahil Laskar, Shoan, Sourabh Mondal, Ridhima (Veerendra Kumar), it was great exposure. Our swimmers in U-14 and U-17 swam great races. We got about 25 personal bests. That is a sign of improvement at the age-group level.”
Results (Indians unless specified): Men: 200m backstroke: Srihari Nataraj (2:04.25) 1; S Siva (2:05.23) 2; Lau Shiu Yue (Hkg) 2:07.68, 3.
200 breaststroke: Denis Petrashov (Kyz) 2:13.81, 1; Ketin Nuttapong (Tha) 2:14.31, 2; Al Wir Amro Basil Issa (Jor) 2:17.20, 3.
50M butterfly: Virdhawal Khade (24.22) 1; Kham Abdul Razzaq (Kuw) 24.64, 2; Mehdi Ansari (Irn) 24.77, 3.
4x200m freestyle: India (7:41.06) 1; Thailand (7:49.94) 2; Chinese Taipei (8:05.95) 3.
Women: 200m backstroke: Yamsuan Fonpray (Tha) 2:20.69, 1; Maana Patel (2:22.87) 2; Soubrity Mondal (2:23.99) 3.
200m breaststroke: Pawapotako Phiangkhwan (Tha) 2:34.27, 1; Vu Thi Phuong Anh (Vie) 2:34.86, 2; Lam Hiu Wai (Hkg) 2:38.84, 3.
50m butterfly: Srisa Ard Jenjira (Tha) 27.18, 1; Khader Baqlah Talita (Jor) 28.22, 2; Divya Satija 28.27 (NR; OR: Divya Satija, 28.33, 2019), 3.
4x200m freestyle: Thailand (8:36.16) 1; Hong Kong (9:06.45) 2; India (9:15.87) 3. 4×100 mixed medley: Thailand (4:01.22) 1; India (4:04.15) 2; Hong Kong (4:07.21) 3.
Other Indian medallists: Group I: Boys: 200 breaststroke: Swadesh Mondal (2:23.43) 3.
Group II: Boys: 100 backstroke: Sahil Laskar (1:01.46) 3; 4x100m mixed medley: (4:16.04) 3.
Best swimmers: Open: Men: Kushagra Rawat (5 golds); Women: Junkrajang Natthanan (Tha) (5 gold, 1 bronze).
Group 1: Boys: Cheuk Ming Ho (Hkg) (4 gold, 2 bronze); Girls: Lyu Dongze (Chn) (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze).
Group 2: Boys: Okadome Yomato (Jpn) (3 gold); Girls: Fujinawa Yuka (Jpn), Sasaki Miri (Jpn), Lau Ping Yi Audrey (Hkg) (3 gold).