Stranded in Phuket, Sajan Prakash slowly testing waters once again

The Kerala native’s routine over the last fortnight included kicking and trying to reacquaint himself with the water.

Published: 09th June 2020 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2020 08:11 AM   |  A+A-

Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash

Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash (Photo | Vinod Kumar T, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Even as India’s elite swimmers are kicking their heels over the government’s reluctance to open swimming pools, one has quietly been training for the last two weeks. Sajan Prakash, who decided to stay put in Phuket (his training base) rather than come back to Kerala, hit the water in the last week of May.

Predictably, it’s been rough. “I felt like s**t the first few days, if I am going to be totally honest,” he tells this daily. “It’s almost like you are rediscovering yourself again in the water after more than two months of nearly no water-based training.”

Even though Thailand has managed to significantly flatten the curve — there are only 82 active cases, compared to a high of 1,451 in the middle of April — the 26-year-old is still mindful of the rules in place to ensure that there isn’t a second wave in the country.

“There are still rules that all of us have to follow,” he says. “Masks at all times. Social-distancing. If you are using one lane for training, you cannot use any other lane that day. You can only be in the water for up to an hour every day.”

For an Olympian (he competed in 200m butterfly at the 2016 Olympics), it’s natural to be in the water for as long as possible. But this is the “new normal”, according to Sajan. “All of us have to do what it takes to beat the virus. We have to abide by the rules so that we can get back to normalcy some time in the future.”

The Kerala native’s routine over the last fortnight included kicking and trying to reacquaint himself with the water. “It’s just a question of taking it day by day,” he explains. “It’s not like you are training on land again. Getting back into the water is totally different. I have just been focused on kicking off the wall and slowly increasing my intensity. You don’t want to go full tilt just yet, because there are high chances of you getting injured.”  

Speaking of injuries, Sajan, who finished fifth in 200m butterfly final at the 2018 Asian Games, is yet to completely recover from a herniated disc. “I got that diagnosed last December. I am not yet a 100 per cent, so I have to be extra careful.”

Time, though, is now Sajan’s friend. “The long-term goal is to qualify for the Olympics with an A time. But nobody really knows when the calendar will resume. So I can take this time to get back to feeling at my best.”That, and abiding by the rules at the moment.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp