Poncha attains Olympic 'B' qualifying mark at Telstra GP

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Sydney, Jul 5 (UNI) India's four-time national champion Rehan Poncha staked his claim for a berth at the Beijing Games as he finished fifth and attained the Olympic 'B' qualification mark in the 200m butterfly event at the Telstra Grand Prix here today.

The 21-year-old Poncha clocked 2:01.40 surpassing the Olympic qualifying benchmark of 2:1.79 but the holder of several national records will have to wait until July 15 to know his fate for the Bejing Olympics.

Poncha will have to see if his other compatriots better his timing in the event at the second FINA World Youth Championships to be held in Monterrey, Mexico from July 8 and that will decide whether he makes the cut or not.

If qualified, Poncha would be the fourth Indian swimmer to book a Beijing berth.

Teen sensation Virdawal Khade (200 meters free style), Ankur Poseria (100m butterfly) and Sandeep Sejwal (100m and 200m Breaststrokes) have already booked their tickets for the Beijing lympics which begin from August 8.

Tomorrow Poncha will compete in the 200m backstroke event where he finished third in the preliminaries after clocking 2:08.15.

UNI XC RAR HT1542

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