Nepali swimmers rise above expectations

Lalitpur, December 9

Swimming sensation Gaurika Singh stole the limelight as Nepali swimmers finished the 13th South Asian Games campaign on a high after winning four each gold, silver and bronze medals.

Singh became the first ever Nepali swimmer to bag gold medal in individual section on her way to winning nine medals — four gold, two silver and three bronze — in as many events in her dominating display in the regional sporting extravaganza. Out of the 12 events registered in the meet, Singh pulled out of three events.

Singh opened the floodgates in swimming with number of records and became the most successful player in the history of SA Games that overshadowed the performance of other swimmers. Duana Lama, the youngest athlete of Nepal in the 13th SA Games, bagged two silver medals in individual events and claimed three bronze in relays, while Tisa Shakya became the only third Nepali swimmer to bag medal in individual section.

Shakya finished third in women’s 200m individual medley event with the timing of two minutes and 33.01 seconds.

India’s Richa Mishra claimed gold in 2:25.11, while Pakistan’s Bisma Khan came second in 2:32.50. Singh is the first swimmer to achieve the feat on her way to claiming four medals, including a silver, in Guwahati three years ago, while Lama bagged two silvers in the current meet.

Nepal bagged three other bronze medals after the team of Gaurika Singh, Duana Lama, Tisa Shakya and Anushiya Tandukar finished third in 400m freestyle relay, 800m freestyle relay and 400m medley relay.

Singh described winning medals with the team was the best moment. “Teaming up with other players gives me a different feeling and finishing on podium with them is always special,” said Singh.

Coach Nayana Shakya lauded the girls’ performance.

“Gaurika Singh is an exception and the performance of other swimmers is also commendable,” said Shakya, the member of the relay team that won Nepal’s maiden gold medal in 1999 SAF Games in Kathmandu.

“The performance of the players in the 13th SA Games has put swimming in spotlight and I hope the sport will blossom in the years to come,” added Shakya.

Out of the 38 events, India topped the table with 27 gold, 19 silver and six bronze medals, while Sri Lanka came second with seen gold, 11 silver and 18 bronze. Bangladesh and Pakistan failed to win gold medal but they bagged 11 and three medals respectively.