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I wish Sajan makes it to the semi-finals, says Olympic swimmer’s mom Shantymol | Kochi News – Times of India

July 25, 2021

Shouldering the hopes and dreams of his countrymen, Malayali swimmer Sajan Prakash will jump into the pool on Monday afternoon, for his first event in Tokyo Olympics — the Men’s 200m butterfly event.
The 27-year-old, for whom it’s his second Olympics, had qualified for Tokyo breaking his own national record and his mom, Shantymol, says the youngster is giving his best, preparing for the event. A former international athlete herself, Shantymol tells us, “I haven’t been able to speak to Sajan after he reached Tokyo, but I get the updates through his coach Pradeep Kumar. He is giving his best to stay well-prepared. It’s very hot there and they can’t go anywhere outside. And, as part of COVID-19 regulations, Indians, especially swimmers, are closely monitored and socially distanced from the rest. They also have regular COVID tests in the mornings and evenings.”
Though Malayali Olympics enthusiasts had keenly watched India’s march-past at the opening ceremony to spot Sajan, he wasn’t part of the team. Shantymol explains the reason behind his absence, “He had gone to the venue for the march-past, however, they had to wait for a long time for the event to begin. Moreover, he had a time allotted at the pool for the warm-up, so he decided against waiting for the march-past to begin. Unlike in our regular pools, you can’t go at any time for your training in these venues.”
Sajan, who holds 11 national swimming records, had also become the first Indian swimmer to cross the FINA (Fédération internationale de natation) ‘A’ Olympic qualification time last month, when he clocked 1:56.38 in the 200m butterfly event at the 2021 Sette Colli Trophy, which was held in Rome. He directly qualified for the 200m butterfly event in Tokyo, and based on his ranking, also qualified to take part in the 200m freestyle and the 100m butterfly events. Shantymol says, “As the 200m freestyle was scheduled for Sunday and it clashed with his main event, the 200m butterfly, he did not take part in the former.” The 100m butterfly event is scheduled for July 29, as of now.
Does the swimmer have any rituals that he follows before key events? “He chants his personal prayer and does his concentration exercises to evade tension. He generally says, ‘You may take the tension that I should,’” says the proud single mom. She also reveals that Sajan never complains about adverse conditions at competition venues, wherever he is. “He always tries to adjust to the prevailing conditions, and believes that it is the right thing to do,” she says.
Will she be watching her son’s event on TV? Shantymol isn’t sure, but says, “As part of a programme by the sports council, I’m now travelling in Idukki, but I hope I get to watch it somehow.” And what does she wish him to accomplish in Tokyo? “If he makes it to the semi-finals, I will be very happy, but we can’t predict anything, isn’t it? I’m not sure how his physical condition is currently. Also, he went to Tokyo without being able to practice as much as he wanted. As compared to swimmers from places like the US and Australia, he could hardly do enough training and so, it was a tough situation. However, I hope he gives his best,” Shantymol signs off.

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