A lucky turn of events led to Karnataka born lad Adaveeshaiah Puttaveeraswamy Gagan Ullalmath receiving the Olympics quota in 1500m freestyle swimming. Gagan Ullalmath is the only swimmer to make a splash at the Olympics when he was selected to represent India in the 2012 London Olympics. Gagan got a lucky break due to FINA's (Fédération Internationale de natation/ English: International Swimming Federation) 'Universality' quota and became the country's lone entry to swim in the Olympics.
Under the 'Universality' quota of FINA, Gagan was given a berth in men's 1500m freestyle event when none of the top swimmers of India could acquire a position in the Olympics. Gagan's participation in the World Championships in 2011 in Shanghai in 800m freestyle helped him confirm his berth at the 1500m freestyle in London Olympics. Coming as a surprise development, the opportunity gave a good exposure to the 25-year old Karnataka swimmer who managed to finish 7th in heat 1 of 1500m freestyle event with a time of 16:31:14 secs.
For Gagan, it was not merely a game of luck. Student of Jain University, he has won medals at the national and Asian level age group competitions and also made it to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2009. During the 2011 National Games in Jharkhand, the young Bangalore swimmer set the pool on fire by winning the six gold medals for Karnataka. His personal best record is of 15:59.33 secs in 1500m freestyle which he created at the AASF Age Group Championships in Palembang, Indonesia in 2011 earning him a silver at the championship.
Voted as the 'best swimmer' in the Junior Swimming Nationals at Jaipur in 2009, he bagged five gold medals during the championship. Gagan also won four gold medals at the Amritsar Nationals in 2008 and managed to book a berth for the Youth Commonwealth Games. At the 2010 South Asian Games in Dhaka, he clinched the 400m freestyle swimming gold.
Gagan quit his engineering to pursue his dreams for swimming and worked relentlessly to make it to the Olympics. Drawing inspiration from world famous swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, he has covered 80-90 kilometers a week during his training sessions for the 2012 Olympics. Gagan has also worked with the Income Tax department but prefers introducing himself as an Olympian.