Nepal | April 21, 2019

Gaurika Singh ready to hit Rio waters

Mahesh Acharya
Gaurika Singh

File photo of Nepali swimmer Gaurika Singh.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Gaurika Singh, the youngest athlete of the Rio Olympic Games, is all set to hit the waters in the heat round of the women’s 100m backstroke event at the Olympics Aquatics Stadium on Sunday.

Singh will be 13 years and 255 days when she vies for a spot in the second round. As per the qualifying time, she is in the Heat 1 along with Kosovo’s Rita Zeqiri and Evelina Afoa of Samoa in the three-player field. A total of 34 swimmers are taking part in the event and top 16 athletes after the heats will make it to the second phase.

The 13-year-old swimming sensation stole the limelight in the 12th South Asian Games when she became the first Nepali to win individual section medal in the regional meet. Singh claimed one silver and three bronze medals in Guwahati, India earlier this year.

Singh’s main target in Rio is to break the national record. She holds the record of one minute, 7.31 seconds in 100m backstroke event, set during the 12th SAG in India. “I would love to get a new personal best time,” said Singh. “I will give my best and hope the occasion doesn’t get to me.”

Singh started swimming in the national level at the age of 11 and has broken the national records for 30 times. Asked about her feeling regarding the youngest athlete at the Rio Olympics, Singh said: “I really don’t think about that too much. Like everyone else I am here to compete and give my best. It is a matter of great pride and privilege to be able to represent one’s country at this level.”

Singh said she would continue with her passion of swimming and hoped to earn qualification in the next Olympic Games. “I will continue to work hard and try to improve. Eventual aim is to get qualification times for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,” she said. “Also I would like to thank everyone in Nepal and abroad who have shown such tremendous support to me.”

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