KATHMANDU, Aug 3: Teenage swimming sensation of Nepal, Gaurika Singh, is the youngest player to compete in the Rio Olympics beginning from Friday, the official Olympic News Service has confirmed. She will compete in women's 100 m backstroke.
The 13-year old, who holds 10 national records, has been in the limelight in international media once the Olympic News Service revealed this on Tuesday. International news agencies like Reuters, AFP and others have covered her stories.
“At 13 years and 255 days, the swimmer will be the youngest to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics when she takes to the pool for the women's 100 meters backstroke heats on Sunday,” British news agency Reuters writes.
Gaurika, who lives in London with her family, will join Team Nepal in Rio with her father Paras Singh. She will be the youngest player among 10,000 plus athletes in Rio. Regarding her selection, Gaurika has said, “That's quite cool, a bit unreal, too."
Most of the international media including the Olympic News Service has associated her news stories with last year's April 25 earthquake which rocked the country. She was in Kathmandu then.
Quoting her earthquake experience, French news agency APF writes, "It was terrifying," she said of the experience she endured with her mother, Garima, and younger brother Sauren while they were back in Nepal for the national swimming championships. The family, in a fifth-floor apartment of a building in Kathmandu, sheltered under a table before using the stairs to leave the building as the aftershocks rumbled.
"Fortunately, it was a new building so it did not collapse like others around," she said.
The women's 100 m backstroke will be held on August 8 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.
"She is special. It's unbelievable that she's the youngest Olympian in Rio and amazing how she copes with all the pressure,” her father Paras was quoted by Olympic News Service as saying.
In February, Gaurika became the first Nepali swimmer to break the country's individual medal drought in international swimming during the 12th South Asian Games as she raked up four medals. She claimed silver in 200 m individual medley and bronze medals in 200 m and 100 m backstroke events and 400 m freestyle.
Gaurika has been training at Copthall Swimming Club under coaches Rhys Gormley and Christine Green.
She competed in FINA World Championship in Kazan, Russia and FINA Swimming World Cup in Dubai last year.