Rehan Poncha lost in the crowded pool

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Beijing, Aug 11 (UNI) Rehan Poncha today earned the distinction of swimming in the Olympic pool in the same event in which World record holder Michael Phelps (USA) also participated but that was all the Indian had to show as he got lost in the crowded field in the 200m Butterfly to finish 40th in the total field of 44 here this evening.

The 22-year-old had no illusions about his prospects in Beijing because he is here to train for the 2012 London Olympics, but in the process he even failed to improve upon his own record or even equal that.

Poncha was allotted heat one along with three other swimmers and the Indian timed 2:01.89 which was below his best of 2:01.40s and was placed second.

He clocked 27.47 for his first 50m, he added 30.32s while crossing another 50m (57.79), his next 50m took 31.52 s (1:29.31) and he ended the last lap in 32.58.

The three other in his heat- Croatia's Niksa Roki, Peru's E Crescimbent and Honduras's Javier M Hernandez also failed to qualify.

Before coming here Poncha had said, ''I can only speak for myself. I am not in medal contention (in Beijing) and will be using this Olympics as a learning experience. I would love to go and swim my best time and perform better than I have ever performed.'' But this must have been a bitter lesson and not very comfortable learning experience because he had said, ''My target in Beijing is to go faster than Sydney (at the Australian Grand Prix where he made the cut for Beijing). I would be really happy.'' He had timed 2:01.40s smashing a 22-year-old national record during the qualifying event in Sydney but failed to reproduce that form here.

''I am targeting 2010 Asian and Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics. If my body does not give in, I would love to be a triple Olympian,'' he had said and now he has achieved the first aim of being the Olympian next two will also follow all in the name of the International exposure.

UNI HSB RKM CS1912

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