Senior National Aquatic Championships: Sensational Sambhavv swims to 50m freestyle gold

Sambhavv R flanked by Heer Shah (left) and Mihir Ambre at the medal ceremony of 50m freestyle event. (PC: SFI)
Sambhavv R flanked by Heer Shah (left) and Mihir Ambre at the medal ceremony of 50m freestyle event. (PC: SFI)

Karnataka’s 17-year-old Sambhavv R stole the limelight with a sensational race in the 50m freestyle swimming event for men at the ongoing 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships in Bengaluru on Thursday.

Sambhavv, who trains at the Bangalore Swimmers Research Center under coach Jairajan, clocked 23.65s to win the gold medal ahead of Maharashtra’s Mihir Ambre, who timed 23.76s. His state-mate Heer Shah, meanwhile, touched the pads at 23.93s to take home the bronze medal.

Sambhavv, who won four gold medals and one bronze medal at the recently-concluded Junior National Aquatic Championships, surprised his senior compatriots as he dominated the sprint event right from the start.

Read: Swimming: Srihari, Kushagra, Chahat break national records at Senior National Aquatic Championship

While the race remained even among five swimmers, who all finished within the 24 second-mark, Sambhavv came up with a perfect finish to clinch the gold.

Speaking about his gold medal-winning effort, Sambhavv said:

“I was quite confident of doing well. I had timed 23.5 seconds in the Junior Nationals last week to win the race so I was pretty sure I had a strong chance. I thought Srihari (Nataraj) would take part in this event, and I was expecting him to be my toughest competition, but he didn’t take part."

Sambhavv wins his first gold medal in his second appearance at the Senior Nationals

Incidentally, this is Sambhavv's first-ever gold medal at the Senior National Championships.

“This is my second appearance at the Senior meet but it’s my first gold medal so I’m really happy even though this is not my personal best time," he said.

In the 200m butterfly for men, two-time Olympian Sajan Prakash went unchallenged as he went on to win the gold medal with a comfortable lead of over five seconds.

Sajan Prakash clocked 1:58.74s to win gold for Kerala Police while Aryan Panchal of Gujarat won silver with a time of 2:04.41s, with Bikram Changmai of Assam winning the bronze medal with a time of 2:05.58s.

Delhi’s Kushagra Rawat, meanwhile, rewrote yet another national record in the 1500m freestyle for men. He timed 15:38.13s to sink his own record of 15:41.45s set in 2019.

Also read: Maana Patel leaving no stone unturned to qualify for Asian Games

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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