CHENNAI:Post the penultimate day of swimming events at the 35th National Games, the Tamil Nadu contingent can be proud of their performances. A V Jayaveena will be more than happy knowing she did her reputation no harm.
Coming into the event, expectations were not sky high, with the likes of Services, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka being touted as the favourites, as they could showcase the likes of Sandeep Sejwal, Richa Mishra, Sajan Prakash.
But the state swimmers have punched above their weight, and done reasonably well to suggest there is scope for future success.
And leading this school of thought are the likes of Jayaveena and VKR Meenakshi, bagging three and two medals each, contributing to almost half of Tamil Nadu’s medal tally.
Post her silver finish in 200m individual medley, also her pet event, Jayaveena seemed relatively relaxed. “I’m happy with the silver as Richa (Mishra, gold winner) has been in very good form. She swam the 400m freestyle prior to this event, and I expected her to be a little tired, but she used her experience and strategised well to come out top,” said the 16-year-old.
Her coach B Girish, also part of the squad, feels Jayaveena has returned to her best. “She has slowly but surely come into her best form. At the senior nationals last year, Richa beat her by a comfortable margin. Here, Jayaveena showed great attitude to run her close and finish just a second of the pace. In swimming, more than winning or losing, attitude is important and Jayaveena has displayed that,” gushed the Turtles Club head coach.
The girls also bagged bronze in the 4x100m relay medley, and VKR Meenakshi, part of the quartet, was a tad disappointed. “If we had put in a little more effort, we could have bagged silver. Personally too, I’m not happy as I could have pushed harder and maybe nabbed an extra medal,” said the 18-year-old who trains in Bangalore.
Girish is pleased with the show, but feels that there is scope for improvement. “Swimming depends a lot on the educational criteria. Many of my swimmers leave the sport once they pass 12th, and that isn’t a good sign. If we can work around that and get in more swimmers past the school level, I’m sure Tamil Nadu will become a force to reckon with.”
He also revealed they had started work to get Jayaveena ready for the world championships. “We are concentrating on 200m IM and 100m breaststroke, as these are her best events. In the process of training in 200m IM, she can also practice 50 and 100m freestyle strokes,” Girish concluded.