Swimming, Asian Games: Aryan Nehra, Virdhawal Khade lead 23-member Indian contingent for HangzhouJuly 9, 2023
For the first time since the Doha edition in 2006, India will have nine female swimmers competing at an Asian Games edition. The Swimming Federation of India, on Saturday, officially announced a strong 23-member contingent in the aquatic disciplines (swimming & diving) which includes 12 male swimmers and two divers. The federation selection committee met after the completion of the Senior National Aquatic Championships, which was also a qualification meet for the Asian Games, in Hyderabad.
In the men’s category, Aryan Nehra, who rewrote four national records (in 400m medley, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle) at the recent National Championships, will be joined by butterfly ace Sajan Prakash and backstroker Srihari Nataraj. Prakash and Nataraj had created history in 2021 by becoming the first-ever Indian swimmers to make the ‘A’ qualification cut for Tokyo Olympic Games.
The team list also includes long-distance swimmer Kushagra Rawat, Vishal Grewal, Advait Page and veteran swimmer Virdhawal Khade who made the cut in the 50m butterfly event. Interestingly, this will be Khade’s sixth appearance at the prestigious Asian Games. He has won India a Bronze medal in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010. Rounding off the men’s list are Aneesh S Gowda, Likith SP, Tanish George Mathew, Utkarsh Santosh Patil and Anand AS.
The women’s category will feature backstroke swimmer and Olympian Maana Patel, Anannya Nayak, Palak Joshi, Vritti Agarwal, Shivangi Sharma, Dinidhi Desinghu, Hashika Ramchandran, Linyesha AK and Nina Venkatesh.
The last time a woman represented India in swimming was at the Doha Asian Games in 2006 where Olympian Shikha Tandon had made the cut in 50m freestyle.
Also part of the 23-member team are Siddharth Bajrang Pardeshi and Heman London Singh who will represent India in diving events. SFI has also proposed a 13-member water polo squad in their final list to Indian Olympic Association.
Highlighting the selection of nine women named in the swim team, an elated Monal Chokshi, Secretary General of SFI said, “We are delighted to name a strong 23-member team for the aquatic disciplines for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. In the previous edition at Jakarta, India was represented by 11 swimmers. This time, not only has the number of qualifications risen but we are also very happy that nine women swimmers have achieved the qualification time to participate in relay events.”
Chokshi added, “It is also very encouraging to note that, these young women swimmers are aged between 14-19 years and have performed exceedingly well in the recently concluded championship. A majority of the New National Records at this event were clocked by these swimmers. This goes to show that Indian swimming is headed in the right direction.”
Swimming (Men): Aneesh S Gowda, Advait Page, Aryan Nehra, Anand AS, Kushagra Rawat, Likith SP, Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj, Tanish George Mathew, Utkarsh Santosh Patil, Vishal Grewal, Virdhawal Khade.
Swimming (Women): Anannya Nayak, Dinidhi Desinghu, Hashika Ramchandran, Linyesha AK, Maana Patel, Nina Venkatesh, Palak Joshi, Shivangi Sarma, Vritti Agarwal.
Diving: Siddharth Bajrang Pardeshi, Heman London Singh.