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Breaking news: Swimmer Saurabh Sangvekar makes Olympics cut

In a sensational swim, long distance swimmer Saurabh Sangvekar clocked the qualifying mark for the London Olympics in the 1500m freestyle event. In the Olympics qualifying event being held in Singapore, Sangvekar clocked 15 minutes 34.67 seconds on Tuesday to make the cut. The qualifying time for the event is 15 minutes 43.74 seconds.

This is the first time an Indian swimmer has qualified in a long distance event. Up until yesterday, only Sandeep Sejwal and Virdhawal Khade had made the Olympic qualification mark by clocking the required times during the FINA World Swimming Championship in China last year. Sejwal has qualified in 100 and 200m breast stroke while Khade has qualified in 50 and 100m freestyle.

Sangvekar is thus the third Indian swimmer to qualify and his performances all of this year have been stunning. He stole the show at the 65th Senior Nationals this year, putting up the best Indian performances in almost all the long distance events.

At 17, Sangvekar will be the youngest Indian swimmer in the contingent for London Olympics. The Thane-born swimmer trains in Basavangudi Aquatic Centre (BAC) in Bangalore under the watchful eyes of national coach Pradeep S Kumar. His qualification must surely be viewed as a great success for Kumar, who had predicted a few months ago that the youngster’s qualification was a realistic goal. Kumar also has the qualification of Rehan Poncha for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 to his credit.

Not many swimming critics believed that the Indian system was equipped to produce a good long distance swimmer who had the potential to make it to the Olympics. With Sangvekar’s qualification, this concern can certainly be put to rest, at least for now.

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