Thursday, 24 July 2008

Indians @ the Telstra Grand Prix – Rehan earns his ticket to Beijing

Three Indian swimmers – Rehan Poncha, Shikha Tandon and Rohit Havaldar – participated in the Telstra Grand Prix, Sydney (Australia) from 4-6th July 2008. This meet presented these swimmers with the last chance to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games. In this meet the Prelims were in the evening and the Semi-finals and Finals were in the morning, like the way it is going to be at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Rehan Poncha was the only one who made the most of the opportunity and became the fourth and last Indian swimmer to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games. He clocked a time of 2:01.40sec, which is faster than the Olympic Qualifying time of 2:01.79sec, to finish 5th in the 200m Buttefly. The 22-year-old Rehan also went on to better Khazan Singh's National record of 2:02.38sec which was set in the year he was born.

Rehan Poncha trains at the Basvangudi Aquatic Centre, Bangalore under National coach Pradeep Kumar.

Shikha again narrowly missed the flight to Beijing. She clocked 26.53sec, which was 0.21sec slower than the qualifying time, in a separate time-trial. Earlier in the prelims she clocked 26.89sec.

Rohit Havaldar finished 6th in the 200m Backstroke with a time of 2:16.57sec. In the 200m Freestyle he finished 13th with a time of 1:58.40sec, in the prelims he had clocked 1:57.26sec. In the 400m Freestyle he finished 8th with a time of 4:09.40sec, in the prelims he had clocked 4:04.65sec

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