Poncha striving to qualify for Olympics

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Swimming sensation Rehan Poncha said he would be striving to crack the Olympic Qualifying Timings at FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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India's teenage swimming sensation Rehan Poncha today said he would be striving to crack the Olympic Qualifying Timings in his pet events at the FINA World Swimming Championships being held in Barcelona. Poncha, who is leaving for the Spanish city along with the other members of the team tomorrow, said he would be "definitely going in for reaching the important marks". The events he is participating in -- 200m butterfly, 400m individual medley, 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle -- begin on July 20. The first two are his favourites. Sixteen-year-old Poncha created quite a splash in the pool in the recent Junior Nationals at Delhi, grabbing four gold and setting new national marks in all the four competitions he participated in. His current best timings are 2min 9.2sec in 200m butterfly and 4min 42sec in 400m individual medley. Poncha, who had also equalled India's best timing in the 400m individual medley in Delhi, has to clock 2min 4.5sec, and 4min 33sec respectively, if he is keen on making it to the Athens Olympics. "I will definitely try my best but won't promise you that I will achieve the mark," said the 12th standard student. "I have got another four or five chances to achieve that," he said, noting that he would also be participating in the coming Asian age group championships at Mecau in China, Afro-Asian Games and some events in Australia. (PTI)