Sajan Prakash pockets butterfly gold at Uzbekistan Open swimming

The Indian swimmer, however, was unable to make the Olympic cut, falling short by 1.32 seconds.

By Naveen Peter

Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash bagged the 200M butterfly title on the opening day of the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championship 2021 in Tashkent on Tuesday.

Competing in a relatively slower field, the Indian was quick to get off the blocks and raced to a body length lead by the first turn. From there on, it was all about building on his lead and the 2016 Rio Olympian did that well to touch the board in 1.57.85 for the win.

His timing, however, was 1.32 seconds short of the Olympic Qualifying Time (A standard) of 1:56.48.

Sajan Prakash has already clocked the Olympic Standard Time (B standard) and will be looking to shave off some more seconds in the upcoming meets.

“It was a good race. I could see some improvements from what I did at the Lativian meet a few weeks back,” Sajan Prakash told the Olympic Channel over the phone from Tashkent.

“I am returning from a shoulder injury, so I don’t want to push myself much. I am trying to improve gradually and I hope by the time the Olympics approaches, I will be at my peak.”

The Indian international is set to compete in a few meets in Europe before heading home for the Senior National Championships which are likely to be held just before the Olympic qualification window shuts on June 27.

Meanwhile, in the women’s section, Kenisha Gupta won the 100m freestyle title with a timing of 57.42 seconds. Olympian Shivani Kataria was third in 59.6 seconds.

In the men’s 100m freestyle, AS Anand managed a bronze medal with a timing of 51.95 seconds, a personal best for him.