Srihari Nataraj caused quite a stir in the pool late Friday night at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The 21-year-old from Bengaluru showed he was at his peak at the right time. He ran 54.55 seconds, which helped him reach the 100m backstroke final, much to the delight of the Indian camp.
For someone who has shown immense potential, Srihari showed he was up for the challenge in these games. He had decided to skip the recent World Championships in Budapest from June 17th to July 3rd as it would have been impossible to get two big events in a short space of time.
The swimmer’s name itself conveys positivity. Sri is known as a title given to someone who needs to be respected. Hari is the name of Lord Mahavishnu. And Nataraja is one avatar by Lord Shiva, better known as Dancing God.
Srihari is blessed with energy and the urge to justify his potential. He worked hard for someone who managed to qualify (A) for the Tokyo Olympics at the last minute. The Sports Authority of India backed him to the max. It was the result of exposure tours and competitions, four in all, prior to the Commonwealth Games that helped him grow stronger and faster.
It’s no secret that Srihari trained with well-known trainer Nihar Amin. More importantly, Srihari Nataraj was recently sent to Turkey to analyze his swimming technique. The sport of swimming is very technical and his stroke movements have been analyzed to make corrections.
Also read: Leon Edwards carries the torch for the Commonwealth Games in his hometown of Birmingham
Srihari Nataraj faces a very difficult task
Srihari was seventh in the semifinals and needs to show more power in the finals. It takes place early Sunday morning (around 1.30am) where the best in the business will showcase their talent. Knowing Srihari’s abilities, he’ll have to trim at least a second if he wants to do well in the final. For a country that has yet to win a CWG swimming medal, Srihari knows the pressure is on him.
The standard of swimming competitions at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was first class. The times registered so far in three finals show how the swimmers are running at full speed. Srihari also has to make a magical effort. The young man may take inspiration from javelin king Neeraj Chopra, who won a historic silver medal at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon last week.
Surely, Srihari has experienced anxious moments in his career during the Covid-19 pandemic. While swimmers around the world had access to pools, Indian swimmers have endured a very long absence from training. Just practicing dry run training wasn’t the same as getting in the pool.
Adding to this, Srihari tested positive last year and was then treated, his journey has been one of hardship. Losing his father during the pandemic was more difficult for him. Such emotional upheavals are very difficult to cope with. Srihari has shown that he will take whatever it takes to try and do his best. After all, it was a smash hit at the Khelo India University Games held in Bengaluru two months ago. There he won three gold medals in the sports complex of Jain University.
Virdhawal Khade and Sajan Prakash are the only two swimmers to have made it to the final at the Commonwealth Games before, despite missing out on a medal. Para swimmer Prashanta Karmakar won a medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Returning to Srihari, he has attended events in Singapore, France and Monte Carlo. Competing against the best swimmers has helped him improve his timing. The big test will be early Sunday morning when Indian sports fans will be glued to their TVs.
Also read: Which countries are part of the Commonwealth Games? What are the qualifications for a country to take part in the Games?
Also read: ‘Knew how to handle it’ – Cody Simpson is set for the 2022 Commonwealth Games after returning from music career to ‘first love’ swimming
https://firstsportz.com/srihari-nataraj-storms-into-100m-backstroke-final-in-birmingham-can-he-script-history/ Srihari Nataraj storms into 100m backstroke final in Birmingham. Can he write history? » FirstSportz