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Friday, September 17, 2021

Ace swimmer Sajan Prakash becomes first Indian to be picked for International Swimming League

It is unlikely that Sajan will join the team immediately as the 27-year-old Kerala police inspector has been undergoing rehab at Kerala Institute of Sports Ayurvedic & Research in Thrissur for the past 10 days.

Written by SS Manoj |
Updated: August 30, 2021 3:20:29 pm
Sajan PrakashThe ISL is termed as the equivalent of the Indian Premier League of the twenty20 cricket and opens the door for Indian swimmers who aim to turn a pro. (FILE)

Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash has been drafted to the Energy Standard Swim Club of Paris, the champions of the 2019 edition of the International Swimming League.

Energy Standard, one of the founders of the ISL, are based in Paris but the team trains at Gloria Sports Arena in Belek, Turkey and is coached by English swimmer James Gibson, a former World, European and Commonwealth champion in men’s 50m breaststroke category. The butterfly champion Chad le Clos of South Africa is the captain while freestyle and butterfly champion Sarah Sjöström of Sweden is the deputy leader of the 30-member team.

“Getting drafted to an ISL franchise is a huge recognition for me as well as for Indian swimming in general. I’m glad that the world is following Indian swimmers. There is no doubt there will be many openings for Indians in the future ISL editions. We were missing such competitions and now that we are in the company of World and Olympic champions, our standards will rise,” said Sajan, who will turn 28 on September 14.

It is unlikely that Sajan will join the team immediately as the 27-year-old Kerala police inspector has been undergoing rehab at Kerala Institute of Sports Ayurvedic & Research in Thrissur for the past 10 days.

“I will be able to join my team some time in November, just in time for the playoffs,” Sajan told indianexpress.com on Monday from Thrissur.

Sajan clocked 1:56:38 seconds in the men’s 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome to become the first Indian to win automatic qualification for the Olympics. In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games too, Sajan competed after qualifying the ‘B’ standard or the universality quota.

Prior to heading for Tokyo Olympics, Sajan had suffered a slipped disc and was on the road to recovery at the Thanyapura Sports & Health Resort in Phuket, Thailand where he was on a FINA scholarship for the past three to four years.

“I did undergo short-term treatment for the injuries prior to Olympic Games. After 10 days of treatment here, I feel much better and hope to return to competition soon,” Sajan said.

ISL comprises 9 more teams other than Prakash’s team, namely the DC Trident of Washington, the LA Current of Los Angeles, the New York Breakers, the Cali Condors of San Francisco, the Toronto Titans, the London Roar, Team Iron of Budapest, the Aqua Centurions of Rome and the Tokyo Frog Kings.

Cali Condors are the reigning champions while Caeleb Dressel won MVP award of the 2020 season.

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