Swimmer Sajan Prakash finished second in his Heat but was unable to move to the semifinals of the men’s 100m butterfly event, as India’s dismal campaign at the Tokyo Olympics came to a close on Thursday. Prakash, who also competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, came in second in the second-slowest heat with a timing of 53.45 seconds.
At 51.74s, the cut was made. The 27-year-old from Kerala came in 46th place out of 55 competitors. The top-16 advanced to the semifinal round. Prakash, Srihari Nataraj, and Maana Patel, all three Indian swimmers, have returned home following a poor performance in which they failed to even match their personal best timings in their primary events.
Prakash, who last month became the first Indian to break the Olympic ‘A’ qualification mark to qualify for the Tokyo Games, finished 24th overall in his favourite event, the 200m butterfly, on Monday.
In the 100m backstrokes, Nataraj, who was competing in his debut Olympics, was ranked 27th out of 40 swimmers. Prakash and Nataraj had continuously lowered their personal best times in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games, raising everyone’s expectations.
Nataraj would have qualified for the semifinals if he had equalled his personal best in his event.
Maana, who qualified for the Olympics through a “universality quota,” which lets a country to send one male and one female athlete to the Games, finished 39th overall in the women’s 100m backstrokes.