Karnataka poised to assert might


Leading their charge will be the talented quartet of Srihari Natraj, Prasidha Krishna, Riddhi Bora and Suvana Baskar. In Group I, a lot will be expected from Srihari and Ridhi while Prasidha and Suvana will be eager make a mark in Group II at the meet which serves as the selection ground for the national team that will participate at the upcoming 9th Asian Age-group meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan later this year.

Srihari has had a good season so far. He was named the best performer at the recently concluded State meet and will be expected continue his form when he takes to the pool for his backstroke and freestyle races.

Apart from the Global Aquatic Centre trainee, one can also expect Rahul M (butterfly and freestyle) and Pruthvik DS (breaststroke) to create a flutter when they go neck and neck with some of the best swimmers in the country.

However, missing from this bunch will be Sanjay CJ, one of the rising stars of Karnataka swimming. The Dolphin Aquatics trainee sits out of the meet owing to a tennis-elbow injury which he sustained early this year.

Like Sanjay, one of India’s leading swimmer, Gujarat’s Maana Patel too will skip the meet due to a shoulder injury. In her absence, the likes of Riddhi and Saloni Dalal will hope to dominate the pool during the four-day meet.

Like Srihari, Riddhi too comes into this meet on the back of a commendable show in the State meet. The Pooja Aquatic Centre trainee was in blistering form, winning two gold medals in record time. And she will be hoping continue that run in her breaststroke races here.

Challenging Riddhi in her pet event will be her State-mate Saloni. Bronze medallist at the 2015 National Games, Saloni seems to have lost some of her sheen in the past years. But with a spot in the Indian squad in the offing, one can expect Saloni to take the fight to her State-mate.

Apart from the rivalries that exist within, the State swimmers will have to be wary of quality swimmers like Maharashtra’s Neel Roy, Rayna Saldhana and Trisha Karkhanis, Swadesh Mondal of Bengal and Assam’s Bikram Changmai.

Neel — a double record holder in individual medley — will hope to dominate his favourite event, while Rayna — a record holder in 200M and 800M freestyle — will be the one to watch out for from Maharashtra.

Swadesh, who clinched the best swimmer’s title at the Sub-junior meet last year, will be hoping for a memorable debut at this level, while Assam’s Changmai will be eager to continue his good work.

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