PRIOR TO taking part in the Ninth Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the Indian swimming team, including Chandigarh swimmer 20-year-old Chahat Arora, had to spend over 16 hours for their travel from Delhi to Tashkent via connecting flights and shift from one hotel to another on their arrival.
Arora, who became the national champion in the 100 m breast stroke last year, won the 4X100 m medley relay bronze medal with compatriots Jyotsna Pansare, Damimi Gowda and Shivani Kataria in Tashkent. Hosts Uzbekistan and Thailand won gold and silver, respectively. Arora also claimed her personal best timing of 34.47 seconds in the 50 m breast stroke to finish individual fourth in the event.
“The conditions here were not that good. We arrived after a long connecting flight and there was no booking for our team in any hotel. So, we had to change hotels during the competition. At this time of the year, it was a bit cold here while we trained in humid conditions in Delhi. So, this medal means a lot and I am happy to win my first medal at the Asian level. I missed the medal in the 50 m event by a small margin but it was my personal best timing,” said Arora while talking with Chandigarh Newsline from Tashkent.
Arora, who started swimming along with her brother Soparsh Aroraat Sector 23 swimming pool, won her first medal at the senior level when she won silver in the 50 m breast stroke at the 69th National Aquatic Championships in Rajkot in 2015. In 2016, Arora became the national champion in the same event apart from winning the 100 m breast stroke in Ranchi and winning a bronze in the 100 m breast stroke at the South Asian Games in Guwahati. The youngster also returned with a rich haul of four gold medals, including gold in 50 m and 100 m breast stroke events, from the South Asian Aquatics Championships in Sri Lanka last year.
“Winning the bronze medal at the South Asian Games in front of the home crowd helped me a lot. We train in Delhi or Chandigarh most of the time and competing and adjusting to different weather conditions makes me understand different situations. I will be competing in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games later this month in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, before competing in the nationals in October. I am aiming to be consistent so that I am able to be a part of the Indian team for the 2018 CWG and Asian Games and win a medal,” said Arora, a BA student at MCM DAV College, Sector 36.
Arora trains under Panjab University swimming coach Gurcharanjit Singh and the latter believes that the medal in Tashkent would help Arora. “The medal is a morale booster for her ahead of the CWG and Asian Games. Conditions were tough in Tashkent and winning the team medal means a lot. Her personal best timing in the individual event will also help her a lot. She has a good technique and she will improve further,” said the coach.