A 22-year-old Chahat Arora put on her swimming costumes on Saturday and did something unexpected. She became the 50m breaststroke champion with a new short pool national record at the on-going South Asian Games in Kathmandu. Competing in a 25m short pool, on her debut at the international level in recent years, the Chandigarh swimmer clocked a timing of 33.46 seconds to claim gold at the event. She outclassed her compatriot AV Jayaveena at the International Sports Complex, Satdobato. This was Arora’s second medal of the week in the Nepal capital. On Friday, Arora had won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke event with a timing of one minute and 13.4 seconds.

“To win my first gold medal in South Asian Games feels special. It was a short 25m course and it means that we have to take a turn after 25m. It works as an advantage as the swimmer gets a push but it’s the same for the other swimmers too. I had missed on winning the gold medal in the 10m Breaststroke event on Friday and was keen on winning the gold in this event today. I had lost to Jayaveena earlier this year and to edge her out for the gold medal will also act as a confidence booster for me,” Arora told Chandigarh Newsline from Kathmandu.

“Winning the medley relay bronze medal in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tashkent gave me a belief that I can compete against the best swimmers in Asia.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Swimmers continued their domination at the South Asian Games this weekend with 22-year-old Chahat Arora becoming the 50m breaststroke champion with a new short pool national record.
  • On Sunday, India’s total medal count stood at 252 (132 gold, 79 silver, 41 bronze), leaving behind hosts Nepal and Sri Lanka. Nepal has won 165 medals (45 gold, 44 silver, 76 bronze) while Sri Lanka has collected 197 medals (36 gold, 68 silver, 93 bronze).
  • Swimmers picked up as many as seven gold, two silver and two bronze.
  • Wrestlers clinched all the four yellow metal medals.
  • Handball players added one gold by winning the women’s event.
  • In fencing also, India picked up gold on offer by finishing on top of the podium in the team events of women’s foil.
  • Indians won the 50m backstroke women’s event while the 4x200m freestyle relay women’s teams also picked up gold metal.

Also Read: Don’t let the bronze change the colour of your heart: Mary Kom to Sakshi Malik

How swimming happened

The Chandigarh girl was influenced by her brother Sparsh Arora who practiced at Sector 23 swimming pool.

  • Chahat is a silver medallist in the 50m Breaststroke event in the 69th National Aquatic Championship at Rajkot in 2015.
  • She became the national champion in the same event in the nationals at Ranchi in 2016.
  • The same year Chahat won a bronze medal in 100m Breaststroke event in South Asian Games in Guwahati and won the 4X100 m medley relay bronze medal with compatriots Jyotsna Pansare, Damimi Gowda and Shivani Kataria in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tashkent in 2017.
  • At the event, she set a National record to take the spotlight away from their counterparts.
  • Earlier this year, Chahat teamed up with Manna Patel, Divya Satija and Shivani Kataria and claimed the silver medal in the women’s 4X100 medley relay event in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Bengaluru.
  • She also won silver and bronze medals in 50m and 100m breaststroke events respectively in the nationals at Bhopal.

“Winning the medley relay bronze medal in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tashkent gave me a belief that I can compete against the best swimmers in Asia. I had finished fourth in the individual event in Tashkent and it boosted my confidence. In this year’s nationals, I won silver in 50m breaststroke event and was aiming to improve my timings. Competing at the Asian level this year too made me spend time with some of Asia’s best swimmers and my target will be to book a berth for next Asian Games,” shares Chahat, who is a student of MCM DAV College, Sector 36.

“I had lost to Jayaveena earlier this year and to edge her out for the gold medal will also act as a confidence booster for me”

READ: Visually Impaired Swimmer Eyes Paralympic Gold In Tokyo 2020

Chahat goes to Panjab University’s swimming coach Gurcharanjit Singh for training. Talking about the potential Chahat has and how she uses it to improve further, her coach believes, “Winning a gold medal in any international championships helps a swimmer’s confidence. Arora had missed winning a gold in the last edition of the games at Guwahati and becoming the champion here at Nepal will be a new start in her career.”

Feature Image Credit: The Indian Express

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