SP Likith, Damini Gowda to represent India at FINA World Junior Swimming Championship
24th August: SP Likith and Damini Gowda have been selected to represent India at the fifth FINA World Junior Swimming Championship to be held in Singapore from 25th to 30th August. Likith and Gowda, both 16, have already joined the Indian contingent and will begin their respective events from Tuesday.
Gowda will be competing in the 50, 100 and 200 meters butterfly event. She will also race in the 100 and 200 meters backstroke event. Likith will compete in the 50, 100, 200 meters breast stroke and the 200 meters Individual Medley (IM).
Both swimmers are part of the JSW Sports Excellence Program (SEP) and amongst the youngest members in the program.
While Gowda trains at the Basavangudi Aquatics Center in Bangalore under coach Pradeep Kumar, Likith, who has previously trained under Kumar, is currently being tutored by renowned South African coach, Graham Hill, in Durban South Africa. Likith has been studying at the Glenwood High School in Durban and training with Hill, whose pupils include London 2012 gold medallist Chad Le Clos. The training stint in South Africa has been facilitated by JSW Sports.
Likith recently won three gold medals, in the 100, 200 meter breast stroke and the 200 m Individual Medley, at the Junior National Aquatic Championship held in Pune in June. The Bangalore-native also participated in two international invitational swimming meets in Treviso and Pesaro in Italy. Competing with swimmers who have participated in the Olympics, Likith won bronze in the 200 meters breast stroke at Treviso before winning gold in the 50 meters at Pesaro. He also added two bronze medals, clinched in the 100 and 200 meters breast stroke at Pesaro.
Gowda, who had qualified for the 2014 Youth Olympics, also enjoyed a strong run at the recently concluded Junior Nationals, winning four gold medals and a silver. She also created two national records, clocking record times in the 100 and 200 meters butterfly.
Likith and Gowda both struck a confident note, saying that an opportunity of performing well at a stage like the World Junior Championships was something that they would relish. “I have been training really hard in South Africa, working on a number of techniques that are helping me grow as a swimmer. The World Junior Championship is a place where I can try all the things that I have learned and put in an impressive performance,” said Likith.
Mustafa Ghouse, CEO JSW Sports, said that allowing SEP athletes to test themselves against the best in the world and in the process improve their own performances was something that the two swimmers should concentrate on in Singapore. “The World Junior Swimming Championships attract the cream of the world’s junior swimming talent. Here at the SEP, we have always encouraged our athletes to get quality global exposure and I am glad that Likith and Gowda have been chosen to be a part of the Indian team. I am confident that Damini and Likith will use this opportunity to pick up some valuable lessons and test themselves against some of the best junior swimmers in the world,” he said.