Khade, Natraj advance to finals with new national records

Vastavam web: Srihari Natraj twice bettered his national record in the 200m backstroke but could finish only sixth in the final while Virdhawal Khade ended last in the 50m butterfly in the swimming competition of the Asian Games here on thursday. Natraj moved to the final by improving upon his own national mark with a timing of 2:02.97 and further cut it down to 2:02.83 in the final.

There may not be a medal for young Natraj, a class XII student, but he returns home with three national records.”It is encouraging. I now know what I need to do, it was a good learning experience,” Natraj, who trains at Ramakrishna Hegde Swimming Pool in Bengaluru, told. “But the most important thing that I have learnt it to forget ‘what if’. There is no point in getting tense.”

Khade clocked 24.09 to top Heat 2, bettering his own nine-year old national record of 24.14 set at the Asian Championship at Foshan, China, but managed only 24.48 in the final on thursday. Khade now has created two national records at this edition of the Asian Games as he had bettered his own mark in the men’s 50m freestyle the event in which he narrowly missed a bronze.

“Everyone can’t win. I had had my share of wins to get out of slump. I am one second faster here after one-year training. Hopefully after this year, I will be faster. There is a lot more to come, I can really be faster than this,” Khade, who will next compete in the National Championship, said. Anshul Kothari though continued to struggle in the pool as he crashed out of the men’s 50m butterfly. He topped the three-man heat by clocking 25.45 but that was 28th best from among 40 swimmers. He was ousted from men’s 50m freestyle earlier.

Khade also had a disappointing result in 100m freestyle as he finished last in his heat and was placed 43rd overall with a timing of 59.11. His compatriot Aaron D’Souza was best in his heat with a timing of 51.50 but that placed him at only 27th.