Impressive Srihari richer by experience

BIG JUMP Srihari Nataraj didn’t win a medal but put on some impressive performances at the events he took part in. PTI

Srihari Nataraj knows this is just a small stop in a long journey. So despite a fine show at the Asian Games, he wasn’t too excited. Happy, yes but over the moon? No.

The 17-year-old Bengalurean rewrote three national records in each of his three individual events at this Asian Games, staying true to a good habit he has developed in recent times.

“I am happy with the results here. It almost went as per the plans,” said Srihari, who broke his own marks in the 50M, 100M and 200M backstroke events. He entered the final of the 100 and 200m events but narrowly missed out in making the medal round in the short sprint. For the swimmer who is deemed the brightest talent in Indian swimming, these were small gains to build upon.

“In 100, I wanted to go 55 but I couldn’t do that in the final. And in the 50, I wanted to go 25.9 but I didn’t qualify for the final,” he said.

Srihari’s timings were encouraging. He clocked 26.19 in the 50M, 55.86 in the 100M and 2:02.97 in the 200M. He has been on a roll this year, sinking national marks in the Commonwealth Games and also at the Junior Nationals at Pune.

“I like 100 but 200 is where I perform. 100 is more fun but 200 is what I train for and look forward to,” said the Indian ace who wasn’t really in the running for any medals here. Exposure and experience were his aims and he will leave the Asian Games richer on both those counts.

“I have a decent swim speed, I need to work more on my underwater and the turns. That will help me reduce may be a second and a half or maybe two, because there are three turns (in the 200m).  We are working on that,” said Srihari, who trains under coach A C Jayaraj at the Mathikere pool.

Srihari, who hails from a family of sportspersons, said the backstroke ledges in place here helped him to perform better. “Since you have the backstroke ledge here, I’m getting a better leverage off the wall, I’m able to get a better arch, it helps me go further because I’m not afraid of my legs slipping. Otherwise, each time I am swimming in India, I am more focused about my legs slipping,” said the II PU student at the Jain College.

In a year in which he has competed at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, Srihari’s big goal is the Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires in October. “It has been good, but it is just the beginning. I have been improving with every meet — that is the main goal for now, gradual improvement leading to the Youth Olympics.  I know I wouldn’t win a medal here but I’m going for a medal at the Youth Olympics.”

 

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Impressive Srihari richer by experience

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