Stuck in Thailand, Chahat swims to glory

By Archita Srivastava

Stuck in Thailand since March, as a result of the lockdown, proved to be a blessing to local swimmer Chahat Arora, from Chandigarh, who won the 100 m breaststroke event today at the Arena Thailand Swimming Championship. 

Not only this, she remained the top Indian athlete by winning the event at 1:14.42. She improved the previous record of 1:14.46s for every Indian in the championship to claim a new record on her name. She had gone to Thailand to attend a one-month training program. 

“I came to Thailand in March and got stuck due to the lockdown. I had come to attend a one-month training program unaware of the fact that I would end up here for the next seven months,” said Chahat. She said, “I started practicing here in March. However for two months — June and July, we were asked to stay out of the swimming pool. After July, the government allowed the opening of swimming pools and I joined back to practice. After having a new meet record in this event, I feel it was worth waiting here for seven months.”

Chahat, who represents Mohali and Punjab in state and national championships, had won many international championships. Her last year’s performance in the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal, where she had won two gold medals, a silver and created a new short-pool national record — is still fresh in the minds of swimming lovers.

On challenges in this particular championship, Chahat said only swimmers who were staying in Thailand were allowed to compete in the three-day championship. “In my event, another Indian swimmer, Annie Jain, claimed the third position. Swimmers from other countries, who are studying here, also participated in the event.”

She said now that the championship was over, she would come to Chandigarh next week.

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