ESPN staffNov 9, 2023, 08:59 PM ET3 Minute Read
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Srihari Nataraj – MVP
Eight golds (and a silver and a bronze) in the 2023 National Games. Six golds (and a bronze) in the 2022 Nationals. Now that’s a haul and a half, and some indicator of how dominant Srihari Nataraj has been over the past few years in Indian swimming. The 22-year-old from Bengaluru was one of the big beneficiaries of the Games being held in consecutive years (after not being held at all for seven years), and he rocked up to Goa apparently determined to get that ‘best athlete’ tag off Sajan Prakash’s name (who won in 2022 and 2015). An eight-gold haul meant that happened without a hitch. His aim now will be to match his feat a few years previously, when he qualified to the Tokyo Olympic Games with an ‘A’ mark.
Trivia: For each individual Olympic event in swimming, the world body, FINA, lays down two entry standards – The ‘A’ standard or Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT) which is a faster, steeper cut-off compared to the Olympic Selection Time (OST ) or ‘B’ standard. Swimmers who attain the ‘A’ standard are eligible for automatic qualification to the Games
Kho Kho high performance centre
News that filtered in late yesterday: the Odisha government signed an agreement with AMNS India to establish a high-performance center for Kho Kho. As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, Odisha will build the infrastructure, AMNS will provide coaches. This adds to the number of facilities that’s being built at the Kalinga stadium campus in Bhubaneswar.
What happened yesterday?
You can look back on a detailed version of yesterday’s events, here. But the major bullet points are:
The 2023 National Games came to an end with Maharashtra the surprise winners over perennial champions Services.
The AIFF executive committee meeting took place and officially ratified former secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran’s dismissal, while also announcing that the Santosh Trophy would be known as the FIFA Santosh Trophy and plans to have five zonal academies across India.
India finished the Asian Archery Championships on a high, winning three gold medals on the final day.
What’s in store today?
Cricket, effectively. With the National Games and Asian Archery Championships both coming to an end yesterday, there’s not much in store for the Indian sports fan to look out for. Yet, given this is Indian sports, one can never say never – some of the major headlines of this year occurred on supposedly quiet days like this. So stay tuned.
Rumblings from the AIFF’s decision to sack secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran might still take place, while as for the actual sporting action, Delhi FC take on Mohammedan Sporting in the I-League at 2:00 pm. Meanwhile, a handful of Indian golfers are in action in at the Hong Kong Open, while the National Jr. Athletics Championships comes to an end today. So look out for your future Neeraj Chopras.