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Tanish George Mathew during a training session at the Aqua Nation Sports Academy in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai-based swimmer Tanish George Mathew is targeting a strong finish in the upcoming 19th Asian Games at Hangzhou, China. The 19-year-old is part of 12-member men’s swimming squad announced by Swimming Federation of India last month for the Games that will be held from September 23 to October 8.

“I’m really excited and confident of a good show,” Tanish told Gulf News. “My main aim is to try and make the finals of all events that I’m competing in and try to get best results in those events,” said Tanish during a training session for the Games at Aqua Nation Sports Academy (ANSA) in Dubai.

Tanish talks about Asian Games Irish Belleza, Virendra Saklani

Consistent performance

After having being part of India’s junior team, this is the first time Tanish has secured a place for himself in senior national team. His consistent performance over a year including at the recently concluded 76th edition of India’s Senior National Aquatic Championship in Hyderabad helped him seal a berth for China. “The selection process for the Asian Games was from last year to up until the Nationals that was held recently in Hyderabad. So I and my coach [Pradeep Kumar] chalked out a plan for the season. Things went according to plan and I did well at the Nationals to get qualified.

“I have been part of the junior team and represented India at World Junior championship but this is the first time I’m part of the senior national team. So I’m super excited because a lot of seniors who I always looked up to are there in the team and I’m really looking forward to learn from them and be a part of the team,” he added.

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Tanish’s main focus at the Games will be 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle for which he has been undergoing specific training in Dubai. “My main events will be 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle but if I’m hoping I would get a chance in 100 and 200 freestyle also.”

Pursuing business degree

The teenager moved to the UAE in 2014 when his parents Viji Susan Mathew and George Mathew shifted base from Bangalore, India.

Tanish shifted to the US last year where is currently pursuing a business degree at Virginia Tech College. He returned to the US recently for his second year and will continue his training there under coach Sergio Lopez Miro, a four-time Olympic Coach, two-time Olympian and bronze medal winner, before heading to China next month for the Games.

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Tanish and coach Pradeep Kumar share a chat during a training session at ANSA in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Pradeep Kumar, CEO and head coach of ANSA, feels Tanish has bright chances at the Asian Games given his current form. “His performance in the senior nationals was very impressive. He did well to win gold in 100 metres freestyle and 4x200metres freestyle which is why he got selected and qualified for the Asian Games.

“He’s been training with me for the last seven years. Only last year he moved to the US for his higher studies but whenever he’s here on holidays he trains with us. He’s really focused and wants to prove his worth at the Games.”

India squad: (Swimming, Men): Aneesh Gowda, Advait Page, Aryan Nehra, Anand A S, Kushagra Rawat, Likith S P, Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj, Tanish George Mathew, Utkarsh Patil, Vishal Grewal and Virdhawal Khade. Women: Anannya Nayak, Dinidhi Desinghu, Hashika Ramchandran, Linyesh AK, Maana Patel, Nina Venkatesh, Palak Joshi, Shivangi Sarma and Vritti Agarwal.