SP Likith Karan, K Raju, Manav Dileep, Siva Sridhar (all from Karnataka), Aryan Makhija, Vedant Khandeparkar (both Mumbai) and Danush Suresh (Chennai) reached Durban on Sunday for the scholarship programme that also takes care of their education at the Glenwood High School, said a media release today.
     
The swimmers, aged between 14 and 16 years, would train with Hill, the current head coach of Swimming South Africa with 30 years coaching experience, in Durban for an undecided but extensive period.
     
He is also the founder of the Graham Hill Swimming Academy and has trained South African swimmer Chad Le Clos who beat Michael Phelps to the gold medal in the 200 metre butterfly event at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
     
While Tokyo 2020 remains the larger picture, the programme would be the ideal preparation for a packed 2015 calendar that includes the World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore, the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa and the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships, the release stated.
     
"We are very excited to have these young swimmers over at our facility. In the little time I spent watching them while on my trip to India, I had little doubt about the talent they possess and am certain they will make most of their time in South Africa. They will be put through the best habits and training regimes and we cannot wait to begin working on them," said Hill.
     
Founded in 2013, JSW's Sports Excellence Programme supports 40 athletes across 5 disciplines and CEO Mustafa Ghouse said sending the young swimmers to Durban was a big step.
    
"Sending seven swimmers for as detailed and intensive a program as this, is a landmark moment in our efforts with the JSW Sports Excellence Program. What is exciting is that they will be under the guidance of someone as experienced as Graham who, we have little doubt, will mould them into bright prospects," said Ghouse.
    
"The Swimming Federation of India has been supportive throughout and we hope the young swimmers will make most of their stint in South Africa," he added.

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