Likith steals show on opening day

Likith steals show on opening day

Karnataka’s Likith SP claimed gold in the men’s 50m breastroke on the opening day of the Senior National Aquatic Championships in Bhopal on Saturday. DH FILE PHOTO

Karnataka’s Likith SP stole the show on the opening day of the 73rd Glenmark Senior National Aquatic Championships which got underway at the Prakash Taran Pushkar Bhavan here on Saturday.

The Nettakallappa Aquatic Centre trainee clinched the gold in the 50m breaststroke event before joining forces in the relay with Srihari Nataraj, Suvana C Baskar and Diksha Ramesh - who swam the backstroke, butterfly and freestyle respectively - to set a new meet record in the 4x50m medley relay. It was the lone record set on the opening day.

In his individual event, Likith never looked troubled as he stopped the clock at 28.54 seconds to finish ahead of Ansh Arora (29.38) of Uttar Pradesh and Danush S (29.57) of Tamil Nadu.

In the relay, the Karnataka team touched the pad in 1:50.65 to rewrite Railways’ two-year-old record of 1:51.06 and finished comfortably ahead of Maharashtra (1:52.82) and Railways (1:54.00) in the second and third.

“Relay was a better swim,” said Likith after the races. “I expected to win (50m breaststroke). Breakout was not the best and I have to focus on my strokes in the last 10m to not rush. That’s my takeaway.”

The youngster also revealed that he is suffering from a right shoulder injury but is determined to power through.

“I have bicep tendonitis. I’ve had it for a while. In breaststroke, it’s not that bad except at the beginning of the race when I jump out. But in freestyle, it hurts,” he said, adding that the decision to remove the hedge at the starting block for the meet will affect the swimmers time. Karnataka also clinched the top prize in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay by coming in at 7:46.04.

Meanwhile, Police’s Sajan Prakash started off strong with his butterfly stroke and never looked back as he held on to his 200m individual medley title with a time of 2:05.89 ahead of Karnataka duo of Srihari Nataraj (2:06.46) and Siva S (2:06.69).

Among the women, Karnataka’s lone medal came in the 400m freestyle event where Khushi Dinesh took the bronze. The youngster, whose father was sporting a T-shirt which said ‘Khushi’s dad Dinesh’, was right on winner Shivani Kataria’s (4:27.31) tail till the final 50m before fading. Shivangi Sarma (4:30.55) of Assam also took advantage of the tired Karnataka swimmer and powered to silver in the final 20 meters.

Olympic hopeful Kushagra Rawat clinched the yellow metal in 400m freestyle with a time of 3:56.95, finishing ahead of Anand AS (Services, 4:01.92) and Aaron Fernandes (Maharashtra, 4:04.71).

Police’s veteran swimmer Richa Mishra, who alluded to this year’s nationals most likely to be her last full one, once again took home the gold medal by clocking 2:24.70 in the 200m individual medley.

Results: Men: 50m breaststroke: Likith SP (Kar) 28.54, 1; Ansh Arora (UP) 29.38, 2; Danush S (TN) 29.57, 3.

400M freestyle: Kushagra Rawat (Del) 3:56.95, 1; Anand AS (Services) 4:01.92, 2; Aaron Fernandes (Mah) 4:04.71, 3. 200M individual medley: Sajan Prakash (Pol) 2:05.89, 1; Srihari Nataraj (Kar) 2:06.46, 2; Siva S (Kar) 2:06.69, 3. 4x200m freestyle: Kar 1 7:46.04, 1; Services 1 7:49.31, 2; Railways 7:53.52, 3.

Women: 50m Breaststroke: Jayaveena AV (TN) 33.86, 1; Chahat Arora (Pun) 34.01, 2; Annie Jain (MP) 34.30, 3.

400M freestyle: Shivani Kataria (Har) 4:27.31, 1; Shivangi Sarma (Asm) 4:30.55, 2; Khushi Dinesh (Kar) 4:30.80, 3.

200M individual medley: Richa Mishra (Pol) 2:24.70, 1; Kenisha Gupta (Mah) 2:25.31, 2; Apeksha Fernandes (Mah) 2:26.53, 3

Mixed 4x50m medley: Kar 1 1:50.65 (NMR, OR: 1:51.06, Railways, 2017) 1; Maharashtra 1 1:52.82, 2; Railways 1:54.00, 3.

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