CHENNAI : On December 19 he will turn 12. But his accomplishments are worth taking note of. On Friday, H Nithik clinched three gold medals — 100m freestyle (1:03.37 seconds), 100m backstroke (1:07.94) and 200m individual medley with a record-breaking performance (2:34.04) — in the 31st South Zone Aquatic Selection Championship.The Chennai boy, who practises at SDAT Anna Swimming Pool, was the only swimmer on Day 1 to get selected in three categories for the 31st South Zone Aquatic Championship to be held from December 27 in Vijayawada.
Competing in Group 3 (11-12 years) Nithik broke his own record in individual medley in the final. Born with an infected lung, he bounced back strong to decorate his cupboard with medals. His haul in Group 3 and 4 of the junior nationals in 2016 and 2017 was eight medals — two gold, five silver and a bronze. His first national event was in 2016.“He was born with a lung infection due to which he had to be admitted to a hospital.
“Doctors said there was no hope. But with regular medication for 10 days, his condition got better. Now when I look back and think, it seems like a nightmare. But I am very proud of my son. He is very obedient and listens to what coaches, school teachers and I tell him,” said Nithik’s mother Sri Vidya.
“He is a strong boy now. But he had to toil a lot to reach this position and win medals. My parents and I are always concerned about his health.
“Even today, I am very cautious before sending him to any competition,” she added.
Nithik said he had come prepared with a strategy. “I started slowly and made sure I was steady without losing much energy. But in the last 50m, my aim was to finish first irrespective of the event. In individual medley, (S) Akash and (S) Guna (Balan) were really good. I had to put in extra efforts to finish first. The competition was really good.”
The seventh standard student of SBOA School, Anna Nagar, does not have to worry too much about attending classes. The school allows him leave when he goes for competitions. Nithik will get a chance to win more. On Saturday, he takes part in 50m backstroke. If he wins that event, he will have a shot at the individual champion’s title in his age group.