Five-day swimming extravaganza in Bangalore witnesses riveting performances by swimming mavericks from all over India
For students across the country, the inter-university aquatics championship is a mammoth platform to brandish swimming skills. A large-scale national event, this swimming championship has been held across different cities over the years. After last year’s stint in Kolkata, this year Jain University played host to the Inter-University Aquatics Championship, inviting 1000 participants from 121 universities across India for a gala five-day swimming extravaganza.
Five-time national champion and an Olympian, Rehan Poncha along with fellow Olympian swimmer Gagan Ullalmath inaugurated the championship which took place at the Jain University’s Global Campus. In his address to the young swimmers Rehan, who is a former student of the University, urged them to be disciplined and dedicated to the sport, without giving up in face of adversities.
Forty events were organized across four days, twenty each for men and women. Among the 1000 athletes, 650 competed for swimming alone while the others proved their mettle in water polo and diving events.
In the swimming category for day one, Poorva Kiran Shetye from Jain University, Bangalore won the gold medal for the 200m breaststroke women’s finals setting a time of 2:53:56 while Priyanka from Delhi University earned herself the second position having finished five seconds after Poorva. Jashandeep Singh from Punjab University won the gold for the men’s 200m breaststroke having finished at 2:24:91, while Pulkit from Devilal University came second. In another set of 200m breaststroke for men and women separately, Arvind M secured a gold with a time record of 2:12:31 and K Abbasuddin from Anna University, Chennai won the silver, while for the women’s 200m breaststroke event Ananya Panigrahi from MUHSC, Nasik won the first position having finished at 2:40:60 while Ruhaab Khan from Delhi University came second. For the 50m fly women’s finals, Jyotsna Pansari from Mumbai University secured a gold medal with a finishing time of 29:24, while Meenakshi V.K.R from the host university earned a silver medal with a timing of 30:27. In the men’s event, Aman Ghai from Gurunanak Dev University, Amritsar took home a gold medal setting a timing of 26:57 followed by Bobby Rana from Delhi University with a timing of 26:68.
Punjab University set a new record at 4:10:64 having won the gold for the men’s 4*100m medley, defeating the last year’s champions Delhi University. While for the women’s 4*100m medley Delhi University won the first place followed by Jain University.
On day two, the women’s 400m medley ended on an exciting note as Jain University bagged the first two medals. International swimmer Meenakshi V.K.R took home the gold setting a new record at 5:21:13 beating the past record of Pooja Alva from V.T.U, Belgaum, followed by Poorva Kiran Shetye, who won the silver having finished at 5:41:35. For the men’s event, Arvind M from V.T.U. Belgaum managed to earn the gold with a timing of 4:45:86 followed by the timing of 4:57:84 set by Dhokale Viraj of Savitribhai Phule Pune University who won the silver. Both the medleys turned out to be the most awaited events at the championship as scores of students cheered on for their favourites.
The women’s 50m breaststroke event was a crowd puller as Poorva Kiran Shetye deftly swam her way to the gold followed by Priyanka from Delhi University. While for the men’s event Jashandeep Singh of Punjab University bagged the gold followed by Pulkit from Devilal University, Sirsa. Poorva Shetye, who won a number of gold and silver medals at the championship, thanked Jain University for being her support system. In an interview with the JU Press she said, “Jain College has been my support system for more than three years now. Dr. Chenraj Roychand, Shankar sir and the management took me under their wing and provided every facility that is important for efficient sportsmanship and growth. At the same time, the amazing faculty of the university managed to instill knowledge that was required for my course.”
The 200m freestyle events ended with Meenakshi V.K.R from Jain University who won her second gold for the day setting a timing of 2:15:09 followed by Sneha.T of R.G.U.H.S University who secured the silver with a timing of 2:17:15. For the men’s event, Aman Ghai of G.N.D.U bagged the gold with a timing of 2:00:61 followed by Bhanvadiya Raj Sanjay of Veernarmad South, Gujarat who won himself the silver setting a timing of 2:01:43. On day three, four swimming events took place for the men and women respectively, and Jain University secured two gold medals as Meenakshi V.K.R won for both the 100m freestyle and 50m backstroke. For the men’s diving event Ajay B from BHA and Gaurav Raghuvanshi from DAVV won the first and second places respectively. While for the women’s diving event Divya Teja from VTU won the gold followed by Swati Vidap from VOL.
On day four and five, after another round of men’s and women’s events and diving events Meenakshi V.K.R from Jain University was declared the best swimmer for the women’s events while Arvind M from VTU was the best for the men’s events. Meenakshi, who participated earlier at the 4th FINA world junior swimming championship in 2013 and won 3 national golds, 1 national record, 2 silvers in 3013 junior national and one silver and bronze in 2013 senior national said, “Jain university has been providing many facilities for swimmers as well as for the sports people and it has helped me to achieve more and perform better in national level competitions.”
At the end of the five-day swimming championship, VTU, Belgaum emerged first in the overall men’s event while Jain University secured the first place for the overall women’s events. This year, Jain University has been riding high on success after being declared the overall champions while Delhi University is not far behind as the second best champions in the contest.