All eyes will be on Apeksha

In the absence of a few top swimmers, Olympian Maana Patel and promising swimmer Apeksha Fernandes will be among the stars of the 75 e The National Aquatic Championships begin at the Dr. Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex here on Tuesday.

Olympians Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash and Commonwealth Games participants Advait Page and Kushagra Rawat, who is in rehab, are among the main names to skip the event.

According to the Secretary General of the Swimming Federation of India (SFI), Monal Choksi, as the National Games are due to start later this month, some swimmers, who do not want to compete in two major competitions in a short span, are skipping national championships.

South Asian Games medalists Anshul Kothari, Siva S., Aryan Panchal and local attraction Bikram Changmai will be among the top male swimmers competing here.

All eyes will be on Apeksha, who emerged as the top female swimmer last year in Bengaluru and set five new records at the national junior championships in Bhubaneswar last July.

It will be interesting to see if Apeksha – who recently became the first Indian woman to reach the final of an event (200m butterfly) at the world junior championships in Lima, Peru – is able to give her best herself despite jet lag and frequent competitions.

Another talented swimmer Ridhima Veerendra Kumar, local hopeful Shivangi Sarma and experienced activists Maana and Richa Mishra will also try to make an impression in this elite event, bringing together 699 participants including 418 swimmers.

World championship participant Siddharth Pardesi and young talent London Singh are said to be the focus of concern in diving.

Water polo will have 11 men’s teams and seven women’s teams.

This event will serve as the basis for the selection of the Indian men’s team for the Asian Water Polo Championships which will be held in Thailand from November 7 to 13.

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