Tokyo Olympics: India’s 1st swimmer to get Olympics ‘A’ rues lack of competitions in country: Tokyo Olympics-bound swimmer Sajan Prakash is looking to use all the experience that he has gained over the past five years — including Rio Games and Asian Games — for the showpiece event from July 23.
Last month, Sajan Prakash became the first Indian swimmer to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as he clocked 1:56:38 in the men’s 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy. The qualification cut-off was 1:56:48. “Five years back I was in Rio and my time was 1:59:3 and now it is 1:56:3 so there is a 3 seconds gap which I covered. It is not about seconds, I have learned a lot over the period of training through the strategy of swimming,” Sajan said while replying to an ANI in a virtual press conference organised by the Sports Authority of India( SAI).
“And I think it is all about the experience which I went through first Olympics and then the Asian Games. With the training with coaches on other aspects of the race, I think I have gained a lot of knowledge about doing the fly. I think I will put everything together to swim at this Olympics and maybe even more after that.”
Speaking about why Indian swimmers lack consistency at the international level, he said,” It is not just one thing it is the package, it is the combined effort. The support system is what has brought me here. Other Indian swimmers, do not lack the talent but they do not have the opportunity to be consistent. We have just two competitions among senior swimmers, and that is not enough to test yourself. We need to have more competition inside India.”
“If the government supports more, with sports scientists and biomechanics come in to work towards one goal, I think there will be more changes in the future,” he added.
With just 19 days to go for Tokyo 2020, Prakash has set a realistic target for the Games as he said, “The realistic target would be to cut down my time to 0.5 seconds. 1:55:8 will surely get me into the semi-finals and if I can do the same thing in the SFs I can go through the finals.”
From December 2019 till March 2020, Prakash was under rehab and was not swimming much, but his physiotherapist and coach helped him a lot to come through this. “After rehab in March, I was under lockdown in Thailand so until June-July I was not swimming.
So it was a clear gap of 8 months of not getting inside the water. So I literally had to start from scratch and I had to work on basics. But at the end of the day, we worked on small things by going on the step to step. And by the dedication of my coach, I have made it,” he said.