MUMBAI: Swimming sensation Srihari Nataraj returned home to good news from the FINA Junior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday evening as Indian sports nutrition brand Fast&Up officially announced its support to the 18-year-old Bengaluru lad's Olympic quest as his nutrition partner.
In the last 12 months, Srihari has shown remarkable improvement in the 100 and 200 metres backstroke event where he has slashed timing from 56.71 seconds (100m) and 2:02.97 (200m) seconds clocked last year to an impressive 54.69 and 2:02.08 seconds respectively which he clocked during the FINA Junior World Championships held between 20 and 25 August in Budapest.
His effort in the 100m backstroke event has enabled him to achieve the B Qualification mark for Tokyo Olympics and is only a mere .80 seconds behind the A Qualification time.
He further improved his time in 50m backstroke and made it to the final of the event. Though he improved the national record in all three events, Srihari was not satisfied about his effort. "I thought I could swim faster in the 100m backstroke and make the A Qualification time which guarantees my participation in Tokyo Olympics. Though I am a little disappointed, my swim in Budapest certainly gives me the confidence to achieve my target in the coming months," stated the champion swimmer who arrived in Bengaluru on Tuesday night.
Srihari said: "I am delighted to have their support in my Olympic quest. I need to work on my start and turns, be slightly more quicker. With the 10th Asian Age Group Championships happening in Bengaluru, I stand a real good chance to further improve my time and I am pretty confident that I can clock A qualification time in 100 and 200m backstroke. In the next four weeks I will be racing at the Senior Nationals followed by the Asian Age Group Championships in front of my home crowd in Bengaluru so I am eagerly looking forward to it," he said.
Fast&Up CEO Vijayaraghavan Venugopal said: "We have been in touch with Srihari for a while now and he exudes confidence and is very focused on his target. At the rate at which he is performing, we at Fast&Up believe he is on track to achieve the qualification for Tokyo 2020 and in this important quest, we are happy to support him and wish him the very best for the upcoming Olympic Qualifying event.”
Fast&Up recently announced the signing of elite athlete Govindan Lakshmanan and is in partnership with over 100 Indian athletes, which include Indian cricketer Mayank Agarwal, India’s highest ranked table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Indian Super League footballer Iain Hume.