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Exclusive – ‘I was on the verge of quitting’: How swimmer Sajan Prakash came back from an ugly injury to qualify for Tokyo Olympics | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: ‘Where there is a will there is a means’ – the proverb is absolutely apt for India’s high swimmer Sajan Prakash. He first defeated a profession-threatening neck injury, then stayed away from the pool for eight months due to COVID-19, after which staged a exceptional comeback to qualify for his second Olympic look at the Tokyo Games.
The 27-yr-outdated from Kerala clocked 1:56:38 seconds in the males’s 200m butterfly occasion in Rome to turn into the first-ever Indian swimmer to earn a direct Olympic qualification to the Olympics by breaching the Olympic qualifying time (OQT). With this he additionally broke his personal nationwide report.
“I am so happy that I will be representing my country once again. At the end of the day when your hardships, determination, and efforts pay off, it feels really good,” Sajan advised TimesofIndia.com in an unique interview.

Image credit score: Sajan Prakash’s Facebook web page
Sajan, who’s posted as an inspector in Kerala Police, suffered a neck injury in 2019, which additionally affected his left shoulder. He was suggested not to hit the pool. When he recovered, the lockdown in March affected his each day apply. For virtually eight months, he did not swim.
Just when Sajan started remedy for his neck injury, which he suffered throughout the World Championships in Gwangju in July 2019, his scans revealed a slip disc on his neck’s C4, C5, and C6 vertebrae.
Sajan was down however not out, thanks to his coach S Pradeep Kumar.

“I was in so much pain. I wanted to get rid of that, but it was just increasing day by day. I went for rehab and physiotherapy where I was treated properly. My physiotherapists Gautham Sridhar and Prachi Shah worked a lot on me and helped me recover from the injury. In March, I went to Thailand and that’s when the lockdown happened and I was stuck there for almost eight months. I couldn’t swim after that. Keeping the A qualification in mind, it was really tough, frustrating, and devastating for me,” Sajan additional stated.
“After my rehab, I focussed on very small things and those small things made a huge difference in the end,” the 27 yr outdated from Idukki in Kerala additional advised TimesofIndia.com.
First the injury after which the lockdown, each put a giant query mark over Sajan’s Tokyo goals.
An emotional Sajan stated he was on the verge of ‘quitting’ the sport.

Image credit score: Sajan Prakash’s Facebook web page.
“Many people told me to quit. Honesty, I was on the verge of quitting. I had lost 50 percent of my belief. Many times, the thoughts were haunting me that I will not be able to make a comeback now. But my coach was with me. He kept my determination high. He kept on motivating me. He made me believe that I can do it, I can make a comeback and once again perform on the biggest stage,” Sajan, who’s one of three swimmers who will compete in Tokyo stated.
“I have worked really hard in the last year consistently without taking any breaks. I want to give credit to my coach for supporting me and motivating me. I couldn’t have imagined doing this without his support,” he stated.
Tokyo shall be Sajan’s second Olympic look. He represented India in the Men’s 200 metre butterfly occasion at the Rio Olympics. He completed twenty eighth in the Heats, clocking 1:59.37 seconds.
Swimming legend Michael Phelps of the United States clocked 1:53.36 seconds to win the gold medal in the remaining. Japan’s Masato Sakai claimed the silver with a timing of 1:53.40, whereas Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi bagged the bronze with a timing of 1:53.62.

Michael Phelps (Image credit score: Olympic Channel)
Swimming legend Michael Phelps, who has as many as 28 Olympic medals, holds the Olympic report for the 200m butterfly at 1:52:03 which he set at the Beijing Games in 2008.
On being requested about practical medal possibilities in Tokyo, Sajan gave a sensible reply.
“We need to be realistic. I know I have swum for so many years. But I know what the level of swimming is (at the Olympics). The Olympics are a different thing altogether. Saying I am going and will win the medal and going there and not even reaching the semis is not a good thing. Let’s accept reality. I am being realistic right now. The first thing is that I want to give my best to reach the semis. I know where I stand, what my time is,” the 27-yr-outdated stated.
“I have done everything in terms of preparations. Just last-moment small polishing work remains. I like to be realistic. The realistic target will be to make the semifinals,” he additional advised TimesofIndia.com.

(Image credit score: Sajan Prakash’s Facebook web page)
Sajan additionally stated that lack of alternatives is the greatest hurdle for Indian swimmers and coaches.
“Swimming is a more technical (sport). You need to put in a lot of effort. It is more scientific than just a sport. All the sports are played on land. And this in water. There is a lot of talent in our country. They can do it and reach such a level. But they haven’t got the right opportunity to showcase their talent. We have the best coaches. They have immense knowledge, but they haven’t been given the right opportunity to expose themselves. I am sure an Indian swimmer will win an Olympic medal some day,” Sajan signed off.

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