Calcutta: Over 800 swimmers, divers and waterpolo players from 25 states will take to the Subhas Sarobar pool when the 57th national aquatics championships take place there from September 17 to 22.
Announcing the details at a press conference on Monday, state sports minister Subhas Chakraborty said the meet assumes greater significance as it will serve as selection trials for next month’s maiden Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad.
As has been the trend in Indian swimming over the years, powerhouses Railways and Karnataka will be the principal contenders with competitors from Services, Police and hosts Bengal trying to push them as much as possible.
Local top-shots Akbar Ali Mir (50, 100, 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke and 200 IM), Sudip Chatterjee (50, 100 butterfly), Mamoni Mondal and Tania Ganguly (highboard and springboard diving) will all be spearheading the Railways challenge.
Karnataka will hope for a bunch of golds from Rehan Poncha (200 butterfly, 200 back, 200 and 400 IM), Shikha Tandon (50, 100, 200 freestyle, 100, 200 back) and V. Sivaranjani (400, 800, 1500 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 400 IM).
Several eyes will also be trained on Police’s Richa Mishra (50, 100, 200 butterfly, 200 and 400 IM) and Services’ T.J. Sujith (50, 100, 200 freestyle).
Bengal will look to Gairik Bardhan (50, 100, 200 breaststroke) and Samir Das (50, 100 freestyle, 50, 100, 200 back) for a decent bag of medals.
There will be 20 events in swimming. They are: freestyle (1500m, 800m, 400m, 200m, 100m, 50m), back stroke (200m, 100m, 50m), breast stroke (200m, 100m, 50m), butterfly (200m, 100m, 50m), individual medley (400m, 200m), relays (4x200m, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley).