KATHMANDU, Aug 14: Saraswati Bhattarai broke 26-year-old national record in the heats round of women's 1500 m race during the Rio Olympics 2016 on Saturday.
Athlete Saraswati clocked 4 minutes 33.94 seconds to set the new national record. She surpassed the previous national record of 4 minutes 34.45 seconds held by Raj Kumari Pandey set during the Asian Games in 1990.
Saraswati's previous best was 4 minutes 40.15 seconds. This is the second national record set by Nepali player in Rio Olympics. Earlier, swimmer Sirish Gurung had set national record in men's 100 m freestyle heats.
Saraswati competed alongside with record holder Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba in the heat two. Dibaba grabbed the first position in the heats finishing the race in 4 minute 10.61 seconds. Dibaba is the world record holder in the event with the timing of 3 minutes 50.07 seconds. Saraswati finished the race in 13th position out of 14 athletes in her heats.
Overall, Saraswati finished 37th out of 42 athletes. Dawit Seyaum of Ethopia secured top finish in overall heats clocking 4 minutes 5.33 seconds.
Seven Nepali players from five games were selected for the Rio Olympics through wildcard entry or universal placement. Hari Rimal of athletics and Nisha Rawal of taekwondo yet to compete in the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Nepal Judo Association President Deepak Harsha Bajracharya informed Republica that the judo and swimming teams will return back to Kathmandu on Sunday evening.