Sajan Prakash on Saturday became the first-ever Indian swimmer to make the Olympics 'A' cut to automatically qualify for the Tokyo Games. (More Sports News)
The 27-year-old from Kerala achieved the feat by clocking 1:56:38 seconds in the men's 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy.
The Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT), for the so-called 'A' cut was set at 1:56.48 seconds. His timing of 1:56.38 seconds is also a new national record.
Tokyo Games will be Prakash's second Olympics, having competed in Rio 2016 under the universality quota.
Here are 12 things you need to know about India latest swimming hero:
- He is from Idukki, in Kerala.
- But he grew up in Neyveli, Tamil Nadu where his mother works.
- His mother, VJ Shantymol is also a former athlete
- Prakash chose swimming as his first sport when he was 11
- His started training under Joy Joseph and Saji Sebastian
- He moved to Bangalore to train at Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre (BCA)
- BCA is considered the cradle of Indian swimming, having produced the likes of Hakimuddin Habibulla, Nisha Millet, Shikha Tandon, Rehan Poncha, Gagan AP Ulalmath
- In the 2015 National Games, Prakash won six gold and three silver medals for Kerala to win the Best Athlete award
- He qualified for the finals at the 2018 Asian Games in the 200m Butterfly, the first Indian to do in 32 years
- He was selected by FINA to train in Phuket, Thailand
- He was the lone Indian swimmer in Rio Olympics
- He employed in the Kerala Police