Cradled on the outskirts of Bengaluru with the picturesque landscape of Kanakapura offering a perfect backdrop, JAIN Global Campus is an alluring educational hub, with students and the staff housed in well-planned buildings amidst greenery and expansive green spaces.
Amongst the structures that dot the campus is the Aquatic Centre that recently played host to athletes drawn from Universities across the length and breadth of the country. The Aquatic Centre is housed in an ultra-modern complex. The state of the art facility comprises a 25 metre 8-lane short course swimming pool, a 50 metre 10-lane competition pool with water-polo facilities and a separate diving pool with standard fixed and spring diving boards. It also has a covered gallery that can seat 1000 spectators on either side of the pool.
This event again showcased the superior infrastructure and back end capability of the educational conglomerate in hosting major cultural, literary and sporting events, ensuring a memorable experience for athletes, officials and spectators alike. This time around, swimming, water polo and diving athletes were here to compete on the national stage as part of the 2018 All India Inter University Aquatic (Men) Championship.
As events unfolded at the Aquatic Centre, it was swimming sensation Likith SP who was the cynosure of all eyes every time he took to the pool. Winning his specialities and obliterating a couple of records along the way, it must be said that it was his strong showing that ensured the hosts Jain (Deemed-to-be University) put up a dominant showing at the meet.
Competing during the 50M freestyle events, Likith shared the top spot with Sahil Chopra of Punjab University with both swimmers touching the pad in 24.33 secs. He would later return to the pool on the penultimate day of the Championship to clinch the 100M backstroke gold in a record time of 1:04.62 secs. This was even a better showing having set the previous mark of 1:05.14 secs in the heats. Rakshith U Shetty who too had a memorable stint at the Championship won the 50M butterfly in 26.20 secs.
Other key performances by JAIN athletes during the Championships included the 4x100M freestyle where the hosts asserted their supremacy in the relays powering to victory in record-breaking time.
After showing their supremacy on day one of the event, the Quartet of Rakshith U Shetty, Pruthvik D S, Chandru and Likith SP erased the 4×100 freestyle records touching the pad with a time of 3:38.62, bettering the previous mark of 3:41.12 set more than two years ago by Punjab University. The previous record holders could only clinch the silver (3:39.14) while the University of Delhi took the bronze (3). Also to go was the 4x200M freestyle record. JAIN team won the event in a time of 8:09.79, bettering their last year’s record of 8:18.16. Here too, Punjab University came second (8:13.79) while University of Delhi (8: 16.58) took the third place.
Dr. Chenraj Roychand, President, Jain University Trust and the patron of the event, was all in praise of the participants. While introducing swimmer Virdhawal Vikram Khade who was the Chief Guest of the event, he appreciated the work put up by the Department of Sports under the stewardship of Dr. Shankar UV, Director of Sports. “As a nation, we are now taking sports seriously and ready to compete at the international level,” he said. Lauding the show put up by the swimmers at the meet, he noted that India was galloping forward and seeking recognition as a power to reckon with in sports, especially aquatics. “We are relying on you here to take this dream forward,” he told the participants while reiterating that sports, especially swimming, goes a long way in making one a better human being.
Addressing participants at the event, Virdhawal Vikram Khade shared insights into his glittering sports career and offered advice on things he believes could make a difference. “First, we must begin by setting our goals in life,” he started. “Second, there are two things we must be ready to indulge ourselves in, one to say no to anything we know is wrong and will not be of any benefit to us, and yes to that one thing that is good and will help us in the long run.” While wishing the participants the best, he also reminded them that the country was looking up to them for representation at international events and that the coming years would put a marker on their success. “So be responsible and committed to hard work,” he concluded before declaring the meet open. Vikram Khade was barely into his teens when he boarded the flight to take part in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, making him the youngest swimmer ever to represent India.
Competing in 50M, 100M and 200M freestyle competitions, his major breakthrough however, would come at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China where he won the bronze medal in 50M in the butterfly category. This was the first time an Asian Games medal in Swimming had come to India in more than 24 years. Vikram Khade is the proud holder of the national records in 50M, 100M and 200M freestyle events as well as 50M and 100M butterfly. At the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018, he missed the bronze medal by a whisker.
The All India Inter University Aquatic (Men) Championship, a four-day sports extravaganza took place between October 28 -31, 2018. Like the previous championship, the medals awarded remain a powerful symbol of the sporting excellence achieved by each swimmer. They will be worn with pride long after they were presented on the podium at the Championships as the athletes retraced their journey back to be in the midst of their communities sharing their success with others, inspiring them to follow in their enviable footsteps.