Asian Age-Group Swimming Championships Features Seniors, China & Japan The Powerhouses

Age-groupers aiming to make a splash - Photo Courtesy: Young Kim cms-generic-white-water-race
Age-groupers aiming to make a splash - Photo Courtesy: Young Kim

Asian Age-Group Swimming Championships

China and Japan are the leading nations among 26 countries heading for the Asian Age-Group Swimming Championships from Tuesday in Bengaluru (Karnataka), India.

More than 1,000 swimmers will compete, Kazakhstan sporting the largest contingent, its multi-sport team 79-strong, while China will have 57 members in its entourage.

Although the championship, also featuring water-polo, diving and synchronised swimming, is described as “junior”, it includes senior swimmers, too, with an open category for 18 years and above separate top age-group brackets of 15-17 and 14 and below. Such groupings do not match the international definition of “junior” laid down by FINA, the troubled international federation at which Asia has weighty influence.

The nine-day Championships will serve as a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for those nations that don’t have traditional trials to decide at one event who will make the team or not. Nations heading to the meet include Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Philippines and Indonesia.

Sajan Prakash, spearheading India’s campaign with Virdhawal Khade and Srihari Nataraj, tells the Press Trust of India: “Beyond winning medals, this is also a golden opportunity for Indian swimmers to try and make the ‘A’ cut to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

Beyond Japan and China, the hosts, India, is a force at the event: it won 40 medals, including 5 golds, at the previous edition of the event.