BENGALURU : The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) nominated Sajan Prakash for the prestigious Arjuna Award. Besides, they also recommended Kamlesh Nanavati’s name for the Dhyan Chand Award for his rich contribution to aquatic sports.Sajan, who will be making his second Olympic appearance, became the first ever swimmer to achieve the Olympic Qualifying Time recently. For the historic A mark, SFI president RN Jayaprakash announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh to the swimmer last month. In fact, this is the second time the national swimming body nominated Sajan for the prestigious award. In the past, swimmers like Sandeep Sejwal, Virdhawal Khade, among others, have won the award and the SFI secretary general Monal Chokshi hopes that Sajan will join the list of awardees.
“Sajan was nominated last year too, but he was not considered by the committee. We hope that this year, because he has now proved himself and created a landmark (A cut), he will be considered for the Arjuna Award,” said Chokshi, adding that Sajan was the only one who applied for it.
It is important to mention that Sajan’s coach Pradeep Kumar pushed him to the limits, and helped him punch the Tokyo ticket with strict training. Hence, the contribution of coaches cannot be ignored, and likewise, SFI has not forgotten Nanavati, who has an impressive resume as a swimming coach for around four decades. More importantly, he also coached Manaa Patel who is the lone Indian female swimmer to represent India in the Tokyo Games via the Universality quota.
Nanavati, who represented India in water polo, as a swimming coach produced several national medallists and national record holders as well. The former secretary general of SFI also made a mark for himself in officiating as Director of Competitions at national and international meets and has remained on the technical committee of FINA for water polo.
“The Dhyan Chand Award is primarily for those athletes who have performed during their career at national or international level. But after leaving the sport (as an athlete), they should have given back to the sport. He has given more and enough back to the sport in his four decades of coaching, officiating. Today, he is probably one of the best Director of Competition in the country,” said Chokshi.