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Sajan PRAKASH
Sport Swimming
NOC India   
GenderMen
Born14 Sep 1993 in Cochin, IND
Height1.77 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Residence
Bengaluru, IND
Occupation
Athlete, Police Officer
Languages
English, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil
Higher education
Computing - Annamalai University: Chidambaram, IND
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He first tried swimming at age six. "When I was 17 I found that I was making very good progress and that's why I wanted to make a full-time career out of swimming."
Why this sport?
His mother wanted him to be active when he was younger, and would bribe him with chocolate to take part in sports such as swimming, tennis and football. At age 10, he started taking an active interest in swimming after winning a medal at a local competition. "I think I was around 11 or 12 when I had to choose a sport. The body type required in aquatics is very different from the one required in track and field. And since I had flat feet, I chose swimming."
Name of coach
Pradeep Kumar [national], IND
Training Regime
In August 2020 he began training at Aqua Nation Sports Academy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
General Interest
Nicknames
Indian Michael Phelps (thenewsminute.com, 14 Jul 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Placing 11th in the 200m butterfly at the 2018 World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, People's Republic of China. (mykhel.com, 07 Jul 2020)
Most influential person in career
His mother, and coaches Pradeep Kumar, Saji Sebastian and Joy Joseph Thoppan. (mykhel.com, 07 Jul 2020; fina.org, 23 Nov 2017; gamatics.in, 26 Oct 2015)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Michael Phelps, South African swimmer Chad le Clos, Japanese swimmer Daiya Seto. (fina.org, 18 Nov 2015)
Injuries
In 2020 he was troubled by a shoulder injury. (onmanorama.com, 11 May 2021)

He began experiencing pain in his neck prior to the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. The problem worsened over the remainder of the year, and in December 2019 he was diagnosed with a herniated disc. He underwent rehabilitation for much of 2020. (mykhel.com, 07 Jul 2020; espn.com, 30 Jun 2020; newindianexpress.com, 08 Jun 2020)

He injured his shoulder at the 2016 South Asian Games in India. (thanyapura.com, 14 Jun 2017)

He contracted typhoid two months before the Indian selection trials for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He recovered in time to qualify for the Games. (iamin.in, 17 Jun 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Some people swim to represent the national team, some for a job and some for the money. I am past that phase and now I swim for myself." (timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 01 Oct 2018)
Awards and honours
He was named Best Male Swimmer of the 2018 National Championships in Trivandrum, India. (Facebook page, 25 Sep 2018; scroll.in, 23 Sep 2018)

He was named Best Male Athlete of the 2015 National Games in Kerala, India. (kheltrishna.com, 17 Feb 2015)
Famous relatives
His mother VJ Shantymol represented India in athletics. (olympicchannel.com, 13 Sep 2019; sportskeeda.com, 24 Jul 2015)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. He hopes to become a swimming coach after retiring from competing. (Facebook profile, 10 Jan 2022; timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 01 Oct 2018)
Other information
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
He says that when he returned to training in August 2020 at his new training base at the Aqua Nation Sports Academy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, following his break for a herniated disc and the COVID-19 pandemic, he felt like he had to start from scratch. "I resumed my personalised training regimen, which was a day that I will never forget. I was returning to the pool after six long months. When I jumped into the water I felt rigid and heavy. I thought I had reached a dead end and had to start again from the beginning." He had previously trained under coach Miguel Lopez at an International Swimming Federation [FINA] training centre in Phuket, Thailand, but left due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I was happy to rejoin coach Pradeep Kumar [in Dubai] as I was in desperate need of some motivation. I could also meet my mother in Dubai. We were seeing each other after two years." (onmanorama.com, 11 May 2021)

REJECTING SURGERY
After being diagnosed with a herniated disc in late 2019, he was told he could either undergo surgery or physiotherapy to treat the problem. He opted for physiotherapy as he believed surgery could have ended his career. "Over the course of 2019, I'd suffered a slipped disc in my neck. It got so bad that I wasn't able to move my left arm before the South Asian Games in December. The doctors told me I could either try to recover through physiotherapy and exercise, or get surgery. But with the second option, my sports career was as good as over. It wasn't a good way to prepare for the Olympics, but you have to push yourself through these things." In mid-2020 he was still recovering and said the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo had worked to his advantage. "The big plus is that I don't have to rush my recovery from the injury. Earlier, I didn't have an option. The Olympics were in July [2020] and I had to push myself at the risk of aggravating my injury." (mykhel.com, 07 Jul 2020; espn.com, 30 Jun 2020; newindianexpress.com, 08 Jun 2020)

RIO EXPERIENCE
He says he paid close attention to the elite swimmers around him at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "Like anybody, the Olympics was my childhood dream which came true. I did not know much about the world of swimming before that. I could see a lot of improvements that could happen after seeing the other swimmers there. And I was more interested in learning from them and trying to improve. After seeing those swimmers, I could relate to a lot of the things that my coaches had been telling me, which I then wanted to use to improve my own swimming." (sportskeeda.com, 14 Apr 2021)

OCCUPATION
In 2019 he was appointed as an inspector at the Police Training College of Kerala Police in India. (insearchofsmile.com, 01 Nov 2020; english.manoramaonline.com, 02 Aug 2019)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
24 2021 Tokyo, JPN 200m Butterfly 1:57.22
46 2021 Tokyo, JPN 100m Butterfly 53.45
Heats 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 200m Butterfly 1:59.37
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2022 Budapest, HUN 100m Butterfly 54.39
25 2022 Budapest, HUN 200m Butterfly 1:58.67
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 200m Butterfly 1:58.45
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 200m Freestyle 1:52.34
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 100m Butterfly 54.30
Heats 2017 Budapest, HUN 200m Butterfly 2:00.57
Heats 2017 Budapest, HUN 100m Butterfly 54.46
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 1500m Freestyle 15:45.29
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 200m Butterfly 2:01.63
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:28.96
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 200m Butterfly 1:52.10
Heats 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 200m Freestyle 1:46.61
Heats 2021 Abu Dhabi, UAE 100m Butterfly 51.61
Heats 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 200m Butterfly 1:53.20
Heats 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 100m Butterfly 51.97
Heats 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 200m Freestyle 1:47.66
Heats 2018 Hangzhou, CHN 50m Butterfly 23.97
Heats 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 200m Individual Medley 2:03.54
Heats 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 200m Butterfly 1:56.73
Heats 2016 Windsor, ON, CAN 100m Butterfly 52.93
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
8 2018 Singapore, SGP 100m Butterfly 52.05
4 2018 Singapore, SGP 200m Butterfly 1:53.47
5 2017 Singapore, SGP 200m Butterfly 1:54.49
8 2017 Singapore, SGP 100m Butterfly 52.04
Asian Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
7 2016 Tokyo, JPN 100m Butterfly 54.38
5 2016 Tokyo, JPN 200m Butterfly 1:59.84
8 2016 Tokyo, JPN 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:30.71
Heats 2016 Tokyo, JPN 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:53.46
7 2012 Dubai, UAE 200m Butterfly 2:04.42
Heats 2012 Dubai, UAE 100m Butterfly 56.03
8 2012 Dubai, UAE 50m Butterfly 25.64
8 2012 Dubai, UAE 4 x 100m Medley Relay  DSQ
5 2012 Dubai, UAE 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:51.41
5 2012 Dubai, UAE 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:34.90
Asian Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2018 Jakarta, INA 200m Butterfly 1:57.75
Heats 2018 Jakarta, INA 100m Butterfly 54.06
8 2018 Jakarta, INA 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:25.34
Heats 2018 Jakarta, INA 4 x 100m Medley Relay  
7 2018 Jakarta, INA 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay  
Heats 2014 Incheon, KOR 100m Butterfly 55.64
Heats 2014 Incheon, KOR 400m Freestyle 3:59.27
6 2014 Incheon, KOR 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:25.94
5 2014 Incheon, KOR 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:34.50
Heats 2014 Incheon, KOR 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:53.96