In swimming, Sajan Prakash has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. So, what makes it so unique? He is a qualified swimmer. So, that’s it?
Sajan Prakash qualified for the Men’s 200 meter butterfly under the ‘A’ Standard. That is something that not many people are aware of. It’s the equivalent of qualifying for the Olympics in men’s shot put with a throw of over 21 meters. As a result, this is an outstanding performance that has the potential to influence India’s Olympic future.
Swimming is India’s worst-performing Olympic sport.
Swimming has long been a staple of the Olympic Games. Since the 1948 London Olympics, India has sent swimmers at regular intervals. The majority, on the other hand, have cut a sad figure. There haven’t been many people who have passed the B qualifying standards.
Our swimmers have been subjected to cuts under the Universality quota since the 2012 London Olympics. Our swimmers were therefore not even capable of qualifying on their own.
Murlikant Petkar, a craftsman, was the only one who stood out in any of the swimming events. Murlikant, a differently abled soldier who was crippled in the 1965 Indo-Pak War, set a world record in the Men’s 50 m Freestyle S3 at the 1972 Para Olympics, winning India’s only medal.
What makes Saajan Prakash’s Olympic qualifying performance different?
So, what distinguishes Saajan Prakash’s performance? Imagine watching a group of athletes from your country go 100 meters in under 10.5 seconds. A runner suddenly sprints the same distance in 9.9 seconds. Although this is not the best time, it still deviates from the norm.
Similarly, Saajan Prakash has ensured that India is recognized as a swimming powerhouse around the world. Virdhawal Khade was the last swimmer to make the world pay attention with his performance. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he finished first in his heats in the 50-meter freestyle.
His timing was insufficient to qualify him for the semifinals. His performance, on the other hand, drew the attention of the entire world. Srihari Natarajan, another swimming champion, had also narrowly missed the Olympic quota.
The improvement in timings, on the other hand, has a message. Swimming in India is no longer the focus of a few bad jokes. We can develop someone like Joseph Schooling in our own backyard with a little encouragement and adequate training.