India Names 2 Swimmers to Olympic Team in Universiality Selections

India has annointed Sajan Prakash and Shivani Katariya to their 2016 Olympic squad, with both being entered by way of FINA’s Universality clause, also known as “wild-card” slots to assure representation for countries who don’t have athletes invited based on time standards.

Under FINA’s Olympic qualification rules, countries without invited athletes are allowed to enter up to 1 male and 1 female swimmer at the Olympic Games under a program called Universality. To be eligible, athletes must have competed in the previous year’s FINA World Aquatics Championships (in this case, the 2015 championships in Kazan, Russia).

While India had 5 male swimmers earn “B” cuts, because they had no swimmers hit the “A” standard they are eligible to enter 1 male and 1 female swimmer in 1 event each. Kataria’s selection as the female swimmer was their only choice, as she was the only female swimmer they sent to the World Championships last year. There she placed 67th in the 50 free (27.65) and 59th in the 100 free (58.76), but will race the 200 free in Rio.

While India had 5 choices for their men’s squad, they chose Prakash over breaststroker Sandeep Sejwal, who actually had a higher score in his best event based on FINA points. Prakash, however, had the highest finish at the World Championships (31st in the 200 fly), as well as “B” cuts in the 400 and 1500 free to boot. The 200 fly will be his entry for the Olympic Games, however.

Prakash and Katariya are both recipients of FINA scholarship that has allowed them to train in Phuket, Thailand with a designated training group made up of FINA scholarship recipients from countries of greatest need.

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Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

Congratulations to these swimmers from an up & coming country.

5 years ago

India has been an up & coming country for many years now. Can someone please provide some insight about why a country like India with such a big population and increasing wealth can’t even produce a single cut “A” qualifier? In fact, it’s not just under-represented in swimming, but in all sports in general.

Captain Ahab
5 years ago

I agree. A country with a billion people should medaling every Olympics

5 years ago

Because the federation doesn’t give a damn to say the least. At this rate don’t even expect an A cut, if someone does get it, it will certainly be at their own expenses and in spite the system in place rather than because of it.

5 years ago

I thought the rules with the A/B cuts were that to send two swimmers, they had to both hit the “A” cut, but you could send one swimmer that hit the “B” cut. Why can’t India send all 5 guys (assuming different events – which at least Prakash and Sejwal have)?

Reply to  Braden Keith
5 years ago

Gotcha. That makes sense why they’d prefer the Universality rule then. Thanks!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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