Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Sept 26 (ANI): India clinched its ninth gold medal at the ongoing 10th Asian Age Group Championships here at the Padukone-Dravid Centre of Sports Excellence on Wednesday.

The Indian men’s 4x100m medley relay team comprising Srihari Nataraj, Sajan Prakash, Likith SP and Virdhawal Khade clocked a total time of 3:46.49 seconds to defeat Thailand and Hong Kong.

India lived up to the challenge posed by Thailand and Hong Kong, as the team got off to a flyer, thanks to Nataraj (56.55 seconds) giving an ideal lead-in backstroke.

The swimmer finished ahead of Hong Kong’s Lau Shiu Yue (57.72) and Thailand’s Kasipat Chograthin (58.41).

Prakash diving in next for the butterfly dash kept up India’s lead with a time of 54.50 seconds while Thailand’s Navaphat Wongcharoen clocked 54.50 seconds and Hong Kong’s Cheung Yau Ming clocked 56.60.

Likith then extended the lead clocking the fastest time of 1:02.47 seconds while Thailand’s Nuttapong Ketin timed 1:03.69.

Khade ensured the first-place finish as he kept up the momentum created by his compatriots to win gold.

“We had a good start, I was expecting to be half a second faster but maybe I was a bit exhausted from all the racing. We all swam a very good race. We led from the start to finish. It is motivating to see other Indian swimmers do well in this championship, I feel this is the strongest team we have had and I am really excited that it is going well,” said Nataraj.

In the 4x100m medley relay for open category women, the Indian team comprising Maana Patel, Divya Satija, Chahat Arora and Shivani Kataria bagged the silver medal with a time of 4:26.69 seconds.

“I swam 100 metres backstroke in the heats and then the relay, I clocked almost the same time in both the events. I wanted a gold too for this event but I’m happy with how the team is performing,” said Maana after the race.

In the evening session, India’s Virdhawal Khade and Srihari Nataraj will compete against each other for the first time in the 100m freestyle event for open category men.

Kushagra Rawat, who has been in sensational form, will be attempting for his fourth individual gold medal when he swims the 400m freestyle final in the evening. He won the 1500m freestyle on Wednesday and also clinched the 200m and 800m freestyle on the opening day. (ANI)