KATHMANDU: Nepali swimmer Alex Gadegaard Shah broke the national record in 100m freestyle event at the Tokyo Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Tuesday.

Competing in Heat1, Shah completed the distance in 53.41 seconds and finished first among the seven swimmers in his heat.

Although Shah failed to make it to the semi-finals, his performance was enough to set the new national record. Shah broke his own mark of 56.28 seconds.

Kosovo's Olt Kondirolli was second in 54.33 seconds, while Palestine's Yazan Al Bawwab came third in 54.51 seconds. A total of 71 swimmers took part in the event and top 16 from nine heats made it to the next round.

Italy's Thomas Ceccon was the fastest swimmer in the heats ahead of favourite Caeleb Dressel of the United States and Rio gold medallist Kyle Chalmers of Australia.

Ceccon posted a personal best time of 47.71, two hundredth of a second ahead of Dressel, while Chalmers was a further four hundredth behind.

The semi-finals and final are slated for Wednesday. Another Nepali swimmer, Gaurika Singh - who won nine medals including four golds in the 13th South Asian Games held on home soil in December 2019 - will compete in heats on Wednesday.

Both Shah and Singh got the opportunity to participate in the Olympics under universality places along with athlete Saraswati Chaudhary, who will compete in women's 100m race on Friday. Shooter Kalpana Pariyar set new national record in 10m Air Rifle event, while judoka Soniya Bhatta crashed out from the round of 32 clash in women's below-48kg category.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 28 2021, of The Himalayan Times.