Junayna Ahmed, the England-born young Bangladeshi swimmer, met expectations to set two new national records out of five records set on the opening day of the Max Group 29th National Swimming, Diving and Waterpolo Championships at the Shaheed Nazrul islam Swimming Complex in Mirpur yesterday.
The 17-year-old, who had set eight new records in the junior championships two years ago, won gold comfortably in the 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke events, in record time.
Appearing for Bangladesh Navy, Junayna set the pace in 200m freestyle, winning the dash in 2:19.89min, beating her nearest compatriot by more than 3.5 seconds. Her effort wiped out the 12-year-old record held by Sabura Khatun by close to five seconds. Navy's Sonia Akter Tumpa, the champion in the last edition, also set record time yet had to settle for the silver medal.
The teenager from England then went on to break the three-year-old record in 200m backstroke, finishing her dash in 2:40.75min, some 4.05 second faster than the previous record. The second-placed Suraiya Akter finished the dash in 2:46.56min while former record holder Naima Akter finished third, 0.37 seconds further adrift.
Junayna was obviously satisfied with her performance but she expects more from herself. “I don't count gold medals or records, I just want to better my performance. I want to clock faster times,” said the youngster, adding that her aim is to represent the Bangladesh national swimming team.
Junayna, though, was not the only swimmer to hog the limelight on the opening day as three other records were set by three different swimmers. Tumpa of Navy broke her own record by 1.09 seconds to win the gold in the 100m butterfly event.
In the men's section, Jewel Ahmed of Bangladesh Army broke a 16-year-old record, thus far held by Rubel Rana, to win the gold in 200m backstroke. He broke the record by 0.62 seconds while winning by 0.46 seconds against the second-placed Mamunur Rashid, who also bettered the previous record.
Mahmudun Nabi Nahid of Navy broke the 100m butterfly record, clocking 0:56.82min, beating the old record by 0.68 seconds.
Junayna, with two gold medals, led the women's medals tally while Tumpa was in second position with a gold and a silver. Among the men, Ariful Islam of Navy led the tally with a gold and a silver medal.
Navy took stranglehold of the medal tally with six gold, five silver and three bronze followed by two gold, two silver and five bronze medals won by Army. A total of eight events were decided on the opening day of the four-day meet.
Even though the organisers previously said that the electronic timer was made functional again, the events were yet again recorded on hand-timing, a continuation of the trend since the end of the 2010 South Asian Games.