Sajan Prakash and Shivani Katariya will represent India in the swimming events at the 2016 Olympic Games, the Swimming Federation of India announced here on Tuesday. Kerala-born Sajan, 22, will swim in the men’s 200m butterfly while 18-year-old Shivani will compete in the women’s 200m freestyle.
Following the absence of a swimmer with an OQT (‘A’ time), India was awarded Universality places (one man and one woman) by FINA, after the qualification window shut on July 3.
The SFI selection committee chose Sajan ahead of Sandeep Sejwal, Virdhawal Khade, Aaron D’Souza and Saurabh Sangvekar, all of whom had participated in the 2015 World Championships in Kazan — a prerequisite for a swimmer taking a Universality place.
Sajan’s case was helped by his impressive performance at the Age Group Long Course swimming meet — Division 1 (Part 3) in Hong Kong on July 2, when he clocked 1:59.69 in the 200m butterfly, becoming the first Indian ever to dip under the two-minute-mark.
Haryana’s Shivani, meanwhile, was the only Indian woman to compete at the Worlds and thus was the only one eligible. The two will be accompanied by National coach Pradeep Kumar.
“Sajan has been a consistent performer this season. That’s why he was selected when Pradeep, Wilson Cherian, the president (Digambar Kamat) and I met this morning.
“Sandeep’s performance in Hong Kong was not up to the mark while Virdhawal has not been able to fully devote himself to training owing to his job,” said SFI secretary Kamlesh Nanavati, on the sidelines of the junior National meet here.