Indian swimmers Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel were nominated for Universality Places for the Toyko Olympics 2020 by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) on Tuesday.
They are the highest-ranked Indian swimmers in their respective genders, based on their FINA points. The nominations were communicated to the FINA on June 20 through the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
After the Belgrade Trophy, Srihari Nataraj has 863 points while Maana Patel has 735 points in the in 100m backstroke events.
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However, if any swimmer manages to make the 'A' qualification time by June 27, these nominations wouldn't be valid.
Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel will next compete in Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualification events in Rome, Italy and Los Angeles. The qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 ends June 27.
How can a swimmer qualify for the Olympics?
A swimmer can qualify for the Olympics through two qualification times - Olympic qualification time (A time) and Olympic Selection time (B time).
Any swimmer getting an ‘A’ time at any FINA approved competition within the qualification period will get an automatic berth for the respective event at the Olympics.
Any swimmer achieving a "B" time in a similar fashion may receive an invitation by FINA to participate depending on the remaining quota places to be decided after accounting for all A quota, relay only and Universality Places.
The FINA qualification pathway provides for “Universality Place” for one man and one woman, provided no swimmer from the country has achieved an A qualification time.
The deadline for entering swimmers under Universality Place is June 20.
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However, if any Indian swimmer achieves an ‘A’ time or receives a FINA invitation on ‘B’ time, the universality spot will stand revoked for such gender in which this is achieved.
The swimmer achieving an ‘A’ time or receiving the FINA invitation will replace the “universality nomination’ in that gender.
So, for Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel to go to the Tokyo Olympics 2020, no other swimmer must achieve the 'A' qualification time.
'Hopeful of Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel making the cut for Olympics'
There is a lot of hope resting on Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel to qualify for Tokyo Olympics.
SFI Secretary General Monal Chokshi said: "In line with the FINA circular, SFI has nominated Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel for the “Universality Places” for one man & one woman respectively on the basis of the highest FINA points (in respective gender) achieved at FINA approved Olympic qualification events between 1 Mar 2019 to 20 June 2021 (deadline for nominations to Universality Place). Srihari Nataraj and Maana Patel being the highest ranked basis, their FINA points have been nominated for the “Universality Place” in the respective gender.”
SFI Executive Director Virendra Nanavati said: "We are still very hopeful that out of the eight Indian swimmers who have achieved the B qualification mark, at least two of them will make the A cut. The swimmers have improved their timings in Belgrade and we are expecting them to go faster in Rome.”