Courtesy: Vijay Bharadwaj
Kushagra Rawat, who trains at SAI Glenmark (GAF) TIDM academy, moved closer to his dream of qualifying for the Olympics as he secured his 3rd B Cut for the 2020 Olympics in the 1500m freestyle, clocking 15:25.22 at the 2020 NSW Open Swimming Championships at Sydney. This is the best time achieved in the 1500m achieved by an Indian and eclipses the B cut time (OST) of 15.28.02. He had earlier in 400 FS and set a new India best time of 3:52.75 as he bettered the B cut (OST) of 3:53.58. Kushagra had cleared the B Cut in the 800 m Freestyle last year at the Thailand Open in Bangkok and he bettered his time to win silver with a time of 8:01.71.
Kushagra is the only Indian swimmer to have achieved 3 B Cuts (OST) for Olympics 2020 and is the fastest Indian in the 400 m and 1500 m Freestyle events.
Kushagra’s performance at the 2020 NSW Senior Open Swimming Championships
400 mtrs FS- Bronze 3.52:75 (Best Indian Time)
800 mtrs FS- Silver 8.01:71
1500 mtrs. – Silver 15.25:22 (Best Indian Time)
Kushagra has been training under Coach Partha Pratim Majumder at the SAI Glenmark TIDM Program at SAINSA Talkatora. He was recently sent to Gold Coast, Australia to train under Coach Michael Bohl as a part of a plan to propel Kushagra into being a top middle-distance swimmer. Speaking on the occasion Coach Partha said “Kushagra has shown his potential and has taken Indian middle and long-distance swimming to greater heights with his sincere training efforts. I thank Micheal Bohl for tirelessly working with him in the past few months and his parents for taking good care of him. As his coach, I am very proud to see hi him becoming first Indian to surpass the OST ( B Cut) in 3 events. We at SAI Glenmark TIDM program are aiming to produce multiple swimmers for India and Kushagra’s performance will go a long way to motivate other swimmers.”
The SAI Glenmark TIDM program is a partnership between Sports Authority of India and Glenmark Aquatic Foundation to promote competitive swimming in India.
Kushagra said I just keep in mind the words by the GOAT — Michael Phelps — the difference between the good and the great is that good athletes perform well when they are feeling good, but great athletes know how to perform good even when they are uncomfortable.
Mr. Monal Chokshi, Secy General SFI said “I am very happy to learn about the performance of our Indian swimmer Kushagra Rawat at the NSW open swimming championship in Australia. My congratulations to him for the stellar performances. He has posted huge improvements on his previous performances and clocked best Indian times in 2 out of 3 events. Kushagra is now the only swimmer from India having achieved B qualifying mark in 3 events for the 2020 Olympics. For the 1st time, India has 6 swimmers with B qualification to the Tokyo Olympics and more importantly 4 out of the 6 are below 20 years in age. This is a huge opportunity for Indian swimming and we can look forward to some podium finishes at the upcoming 2022 Asian Games and 2024 Olympics.
The global coronavirus pandemic is extremely unfortunate as it casts a shadow over the dreams of so many athletes worldwide. We were very hopeful for some of our swimmers to make the A qualifying mark this year. This would have been a historical milestone for India but now with the precautions required to check the spread of the virus and safety of all concerned being of paramount concern we are keeping our fingers crossed and watching the situation closely. We continue to hope the situation resolves before the qualifying period ends so that our swimmers can continue to train and participate in qualifying events.”