Gagan sole Indian representative in swimming at London
New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) India Saturday got its sole representation from swimming at the London Olympics courtesy the 'universality quota'.
World body FINA selected Karnataka swimmer Gagan Ulalmath to participate in the men's 1,500m freestyle.
The move came as a surprise to many with Ulalmath failing to get close to any qualification standard. While other well known swimmers like Viradhwal Khade (100m freestyle), Sandeep Sejwal (100m and 200m breaststroke), Aaron d'Souza (200m freestyle) and Saurabh Sangvekar (1,500m freestyle), all had 'B' standard, also called as Olympic Selection Timing (OST).
"We requested FINA to give India one Olympic spot because we didn't have any and in a letter sent to me, they granted Gagan a berth in men's 1500m freestyle under Universality quota," Swimming Federation of India Secretary-General Virendra Nanavati told IANS.
FINA's list has 438 swimmers who attained Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT) or the 'A' Standard time, 181 OST qualifiers, 131 relay swimmers and 150 Universality Places (for countries to enter one male and one female swimmer if they do not have a qualified swimmer).
"Luckily Gagan participated in the World Championships held in Shanghai in July last year. If any female swimmer had participated in the World Championships then we would have probably got another berth."
Nanavati, who is also a member of the technical committee of FINA, said that there was still a chance for some of the other Indian swimmers but it seemed highly unlikely they would get the call up with the cut-off date set for July 9.
"We are still pursuing FINA. The only chance left for our swimmers is if someone pulls out of the OST category. But it seems highly improbable that will happen," said Nanavati.
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