Aim is to finish on top of medal tally at 10th Asian Age Group C’ships: National Swimming Coach Pradeep S Kumar
Bengaluru: With Bengaluru all-set to host the 10th Asian Age Group Championships to begin here on Tuesday, 24 September 2019, National Swimming Coach Pradeep S Kumar expressed confidence that his swimmers will out-perform their previous medal tally of 5 Gold, 13 Silver and 22 Bronze Medals in this prestigious Championships. He also reflected the swimmers’ excitement to take part at home for the first time.
“This is the first time that many of them are swimming such a major International competition at home and the mood in the team is upbeat. All the swimmers are high spirited and are well-prepared to improve the total medal tally from previous edition. Since the event is happening at home, there is no doubt that we will be aiming to finish on top of the medal tally,” stated the Dronacharya awardee.
With countries such as Japan, Chinese Taipei, Kazakstan and Thailand competing with their full team, Pradeep said he expects a stiff challenge for the Indian swimmers. “This will be a challenging meet with contingents from Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Japan and Kazakstan bringing their full squad consisting their country’s best swimmers. Countries like Jordan and Syria also will have participants to watch out for. Competition particularly in Group 1 boys and Group 2 girls will be tough but our swimmers have made good progress and we had a solid four-week national camp here in Bengaluru. Although the weather was slightly cold, I am satisfied with how the swimmers faired in their training,” he said.
The 9-day Championships which is a Qualifying event for 2020 Tokyo Olympics will also witness countries such as Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh and also Syria vying for top honours.
Speaking about the ace Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj who have secured B Qualification time for Tokyo Olympics and Virdhawal Khade who is riding on a good show at the recent Senior Nationals in Bhopal, Pradeep said, “These boys have good chances of making the ‘A’ cut. They are in good shape after the Senior Nationals and I am expecting them to better the timings their clocked in Bhopal.”
On asked if there is going to be added pressure of performing at home, he said, “I don’t think the swimmers should take any pressure. We have spoken about this a lot during the camp and the swimmers know they need to take advantage of the local support. We also have many experienced swimmers in the squad who have been motivating their younger compatriots so in that sense the entire team is geared up physically and mentally for the event.”
The Championships will be held across four disciplines which is swimming, diving water polo and synchronised swimming. The event will have participants in open category (18 years and above), as well as Age Groups I (15-17 years) and II (14 years and below). In the previous edition, India won a total of 40 medals in Swimming with 5 Gold, 13 Silver and 22 Bronze Medals while in Diving India won 3 Gold, two Silver and three Bronze Medals.