ALMOST A year after she won the silver medal in the women’s 100 M breaststroke event in the National Games in Kerala, Chandigarh swimmer Chahat Arora claimed her first medal in an international competition by winning the bronze medal in the women’s 100 M breaststroke event in the South Asian Games in Guwahati on Sunday.
The 18-year-old swimmer returned with a timing of one minute and 18.77 seconds while Pakistan’s Lianna Elizabeth Swan won the silver medal with a timing of one minute and 18.58 seconds and Bangladesh’s Mahfuza Khatun won the gold medal with a timing of one minute and 17.86 seconds.
“It’s always tough competing for the first time in an international tournament. And competing at home meant that there were a lot of expectations from me. Swan and Khatun also gave their best and I missed the silver medal by a whisker. But I will take this performance. This season we got to train at the all-weather swimming pool at Panjab University and it surely helped. Apart from this, the experience at national camp at Talkatora Stadium in Delhi also helped me,” said 18-year-old Chahat, who is a student of BA Economic Honours at DAV College, Sector 10.
Chahat started swimming at the age of five years along with her brother Sparsh Arora at Sector 23 swimming pool and her first national medal came in the form of a gold medal in 50 M breaststroke in School Nationals in 2009. Chahat then claimed a bronze medal in junior nationals in Hyderabad in 2010 and also claimed a silver medal in senior nationals in Kolkata in 2014. She then won the silver medal in 100 m breaststroke event in National Games last year before she won the silver and bronze medals in 100 m and 50 m events at Senior Nationals held at Rajkot. “She would train at Sector 23 pool and would also spend time running or jogging to compensate for the less time devoted to swimming due to winters. Winning medals in Rajkot with good timings also meant that she made it to the national team and she was excited about competing in her first-ever international tournament. She has two more events remaining in the tournament and she is eager to do well,” said Chahat’s father PJ Arora, who is an advocate in Chandigarh and accompanying Chahat.
Panchkula’s experienced swimmer 32-year-old Puneet Rana, too, added another medal in his long tally of medals by winning the silver medal in the 100 M breaststroke event. Posted in Panchkula as Inspector with Haryana Police, he clocked a timing of one minute and 3.80 seconds while Asian Games bronze medallist Sandeep Sejwal won the gold medal. “It was a superlative performance by Chahat. Competing in her first international tournament, she showed the right temperament. She missed the silver medal by a minor margin but she will take positives from this performance. Winning two medals in last year’s nationals at Rajkot also boosted her confidence a lot. Timings like these surely help a swimmer’s confidence. Puneet also showed his experience and gave a tough fight to Sejwal. Both the swimmers will try to carry their form in the next events,” said SAI coach Gurcharanjit Singh who is posted at Panjab University.