South Asian Games: 22-year-old swimmer Chahat Arora from Chandigarh clinches gold

Nitin Sharma

Chahat Arora became the 50m breaststroke champion with a new short pool national record. Express

On Saturday, as 22-year-old Chahat Arora became the 50m breaststroke champion with a new short pool national record in the South Asian Games in Kathmandu, the swimmer was competing in a 25m short pool for the first time at the international level in recent years.

The Chandigarh resident clocked a timing of 33.46 seconds to claim the gold medal ahead of compatriot AV Jayaveena at the International Sports Complex, Satdobato. This was Arora’s second medal of the week in the Nepal capital. On Friday, Arora had won a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke event with a timing of one minute and 13.4 seconds.

“To win my first gold medal in South Asian Games feels special. It was a short 25m course and it means that we have to take a turn after 25m. It works as an advantage as the swimmer gets a push but it’s the same for the other swimmers too. I had missed on winning the gold medal in the 10m Breaststroke event on Friday and was keen on winning the gold in this event today. I had lost to Jayaveena earlier this year and to edge out her for the gold medal will also act as a confidence booster for me,” Arora told Chandigarh Newsline from Kathmandu.

The Chandigarh youngster, who started swimming along with her brother Sparsh Arora at Sector 23 swimming pool, had won the silver medal in the 50m Breaststroke event in the 69 th National Aquatic Championship at Rajkot in 2015 before she became the national champion in the same event in the nationals at Ranchi in 2016.

The same year saw Arora winning a bronze medal in 100m Breaststroke event in South Asian Games in Guwahati before she won the 4X100 m medley relay bronze medal with compatriots Jyotsna Pansare, Damimi Gowda and Shivani Kataria in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tashkent in 2017.

Earlier this year, Arora along with Manna Patel, Divya Satija and Shivani Kataria claimed the silver medal in the women’s 4X100 medley relay event in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Bengaluru apart from winning a silver and bronze medal in 50m and 100m breaststroke events respectively in the nationals at Bhopal. “Winning the medley relay bronze medal in Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tashkent gave me a belief that I can compete against the best swimmers in Asia. I had finished fourth in the individual event in Tashkent and it boosted my confidence. In this year’s nationals, I won silver in 50m breaststroke event and was aiming to improve my timings. Competing at the Asian level this year too made me spend time with some of Asia’s best swimmers and my target will be to book a berth for next Asian Games,” shares Arora, who is a student of MCM DAV College, Sector 36.

Arora trains under Panjab university swimming coach Gurcharanjit Singh and the coach believes that she will improve further. “Winning a gold medal in any international championships helps a swimmer’s confidence. Arora had missed winning a gold in the last edition of the games at Guwahati and becoming the champion here at Nepal will be a new start in her career,” said Singh.