Nataraj betters Olympic qualification time in men’s 100m backstroke

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Srihari Nataraj

Rome– India’s Srihari Nataraj on Sunday shattered the Tokyo Olympic games qualification time in the men’s 100 metres backstroke during the time trial at Sette Colli Trophy, but his feat is yet to be approved by the International Swimming Federation (FINA).

Nataraj clocked 53.77 seconds, which was faster than the Olympic qualification time of 53.85 secs. If FINA approves his timing, the 20-year-old Bengaluru swimmer will become the second Indian to make the qualification cut that guarantees an automatic berth for the Olympics.

Nataraj’s performance of 53.77 secs is also better than his own previous national record of 54.07 seconds.

FINA is expected to give a ruling on Nataraj’s timing next week.

On Saturday, India’s Sajan Prakash became the first-ever Indian swimmer to achieve the Olympic qualification time in the men’s 200m butterfly event in Rome. Prakash clocked 1:56.38 seconds, which was better than the Olympics qualification time of 1:56.48 sec.

The Olympic qualifying deadline in swimming was Sunday.

Nataraj had missed the qualifying mark on Friday by 0.05 seconds, having touched the pads at 53.90 in the men’s 100m backstroke.

Last week, at the Belgrade Open Swimming competition, Nataraj, who had achieved Olympics qualification time in the men’s 100m backstroke in 2019, couldn’t get into a good rhythm as his gold medal winning time of 54.45 seconds was slower than the qualification time of 53.85 seconds.

In May, at the Uzbekistan Open Swimming Championships in Tashkent, Nataraj clocked 54.07 seconds, which was off the Olympics qualification time of 53.85 seconds. (IANS)

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