Lalitpur, December 5
Swimmer Gaurika Singh ended Nepal’s gold medal drought in the 13th South Asian Games here at the International Sports Complex pool today.
Singh won the maiden individual gold medal when she finished the 200m freestyle event in two minutes and 5.06 seconds.
Shivangi Sarma of India was second with 2:07.19, while Bangladesh’s Junayna Ahmed came third in 2:12.83.
Olympian Singh had ended individual section medal drought with one silver and three bronze medals in the previous edition of the Games held in Guwahati three years ago.
Singh, the youngest athlete of the Rio Olympic Games, will take part in a total of 12 events.
Singh said she was scared of the cheer from the crowd and she felt like performing in Olympics.”It’s always tough and I give my best whenever I enter the pool.
Today, my best was enough and I am really happy with that,” said Singh.
“People say I live in foreign and I am not a Nepali.
But I am a Nepali and I won this medal for my country,” added Singh, who moved to United Kingdom with her family at the age of two. “I want to dedicate this medal to my country and my parents.”
Singh said she had a tough preparation for the SA Games and she would try to give her best in other events as well. “I trained hard, up to nine sessions of two and half hours per week,” she said. “The cheer from the crowd boosted my performance and I will try to put in my best in other events,” she added. Singh said the newly-built heating system pool was similar to that in UK. “The pool is very good, just like in England but it’s a little bit cold here.”
Another Nepali swimmer, Duana Lama claimed silver medal in women’s 200m breaststroke event after she finished the race in 2:44.68. India’s Apeksha Delyla Fernandes claimed gold in 2:38.05, while Sri Lanka’s Ramudli Nulara Samarakoon was third in 2:44.71.
Singh and Lama then teamed up with Tisa Shakya and Anushiya Tandukar to win bronze medal in women’s 4X100m freestyle relay. The Nepali team came home in 4:07.97 to finish behind gold medal winning Indian team and silver medallists Sri Lanka.
Out of the eight events on first day of the competition, Nepal bagged one each gold, silver and bronze medals, while India claimed 11 medals including four golds.
Lama is the youngest Nepali athlete in the 13th South Asian Games. Lama — who was born on July 14, 2006 — was shocked when asked about her feeling.
“I did not know that I am the youngest player. I am shocked,” said Lama. “I was here with the aim of breaking national record but I won silver as the youngest player of the meet. I can’t believe it,” added the 13-year-old. “I am really happy and would like to thank everyone. I still have three events left and I will try my level best,” she added
A version of this article appears in print on December 06, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.