The Swimming Federation of India has selected Sajan Prakash and Shivani Kataria to represent the country at the 2016 Rio Olympics. They SFI selected them through the Universality rule, which allows one male and one female competitor to participate provided the swimmer has participated in the last World Championship.
Kerala swimmer Sajan Prakash, who won six gold and three silver medals at the Indian National Games in February 2015, is a national record holder in 200m butterfly and 1500m freestyle.
"We had five swimmers among the boys - Sajan Prakash who competes in 400 m freestyle, 1500 m freestyle and 200 m butterfly, Saurabh Sangvekar in the 400 m freestyle, Sandeep Sejwal in 100 m breaststroke, and Virdhawal Khade in 50 m freestyle, and Supriyo Mondal in the 200 m butterfly. Mondal was not eligible to be considered since he hadn't competed at the last World Championship, which is a basic criterion for qualification to the Olympics. We felt Sajan has had the best performances in the last two years or so. He will competing in the 200 m butterfly in Rio," SFI secretary Kamlesh Nanavati told ESPN.
Five male swimmers from India, including Sajan Prakash, had participated in the qualifying event in Hong Kong in the hope of achieving the 'A' qualification mark to secure direct entry to the Olympics. However, all five of them only managed to make the 'B' cut. Sandeep Sejwal, Virdhawal Khade, Supriyo Mondal, and Saurabh Sangvekar were the other four who participated.
"Similarly, the only woman in consideration was Shivani, in the 200 m freestyle. She has been the only Indian woman to compete at the last World Championship," Nanavati said.
Although 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist Sandeep Sejwal secured maximum points in 200m breaststroke (822) and 100m breaststroke (808), Sajan participated in three events -- 400m freestyle (798), 1500m freestyle (782) and 200m butterfly (785), taking his average score above Sejwal.