Backstroke swimmer Maana Patel has become the first female and third Indian swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Maana qualified for the Summer Games after FINA confirmed her universality spot in the female gender. The 21-year-old’s hard work paid off as she is all set to feature in her maiden Olympics.
Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter to congratulate Maana on her qualification. “Backstroke swimmer Maana Patel has become the 1st female and 3rd Indian swimmer to qualify for #Tokyo2020. I congratulate Maana, who qualified through Universality Quota. Well done!!” Rijiju wrote.
Maana Patel joins Srihari Nataraj and Sajan Prakash
Sajan Prakash scripted history in Rome as he became the first-ever Indian swimmer to make the ‘A’ cut for the Olympics. Sajan made the cut for Summer Olympics as he clocked 1:56.38 in the 200m butterfly event. Srihari Nataraj became only the second Indian swimmer in history to make the ‘A’ cut. Nataraj clocked 53.77 seconds in the 100m Backstroke in a time trial to seal an Olympics berth.
This is the first time two Indians have earned automatic qualification for the Olympic Games. Nataraj was all set to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics if no other Indian swimmer would have cleared the Olympic Qualification time before the 27th of June. Sajan, on the other hand, is one of the leading Indian swimmers and was the first Indian swimmer to reach the final in Asian Games after 32 years when he achieved the feat in 2018 in Jakarta.