Poncha, D'Souza eye Oly berth

Beijing Olympian Rehan Poncha and Aaron D’Souza will be looking to make the cut in the upcoming FINA-approved qualifying meets, including the Asian age-group championship to be held from September 29 to October 6 at Palembang in Indonesia.

Poncha, who competed in the 200M butterfly in Beijing, said he was focusing mainly on his pet event ahead of next year’s Games. “I am targeting mainly the 200 fly for London Games,” said Poncha, who along with other senior Karnataka swimmers, is in Bhopal to attend a selection trial for the Jakarta meet.

“I would also like to qualify for the 200 IM as well but my preference is 200 fly. I have been training hard for some time now and hope to attain the mark in Jakarta. Before that, there is the possibility that I could swim in the Hong Kong Open in September,” added Poncha.

Swimming’s world governing body has set 2:00.95 for 200 fly and 2:04.38 for 200 IM as the minimum qualifying timings. The 25-year-old Poncha holds the National records in the 200 fly (2:00.70) and 200 individual medley (2:05.89) events.

The 19-year-old Aaron, who has been training in Florida under coach Alex P at the Davie Nadadores Swim Club for the past six months, has set his sights on the 100 and 200 freestyle. “I had a good six months’ training in US and I learnt many new things there. I have been stuck at 1:52.00 in 200 free and I need to improve to qualify for the Olympics,” pointed out Aaron, who has a personal best of 1:50.00 set before the ban of Hi-tech suits in 2009. The invitational time for 200 free is set at 1:51.59.

Rohit R Havaldar, Ashwin Menon and Pooja R Alva are also attending the trials here to make the squad for the Asian age-group meet, where they will compete in the Open category (above 18 years).

Virdhawal Khade in 100 freestyle and Sandeep Sejwal in 100 breaststroke booked their berths for London at the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai.

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