Olympian at 13: Gaurika Singh is the youngest competitor at Rio
They say that age doesn’t restrict you from achieving your goals. And, here’s the proof. There are more than 10,000 athletes competing at the Rio Olympics this year, and none younger than Gaurika Singh. At 13 years and 255 days, this Nepalese swimmer is the youngest to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has made the cut for the 100m backstroke heats which will be held on Sunday.
Singh, the seven national records holder in one of Kathmandu’s two 50-metre pools, states, “That’s quite cool, a bit unreal too. I wanted to go but wasn’t sure I’d be able to because I’d be too young. When I found out a month ago, it was a big shock.”, reported by DNA.
If Singh successfully ends up in Rio, she will be named as the oldest-youngest athlete at a Summer Olympics since the 1956 Melbourne Games, according to sports-reference.com.
Singh moved to London with her family at age 2. Being one of the 20 best swimmers in her age group in Britain, Singh first competed in the Nepal championships when she was just 11 years of age. In 2015, when he massive earthquake tragedy hit Nepal, she was caught in the thick of it with her mother and sister, as she had returned to compete in the national swimming championships. “It was terrifying. We were on the fifth floor of a building (in the capital Kathmandu) that we couldn’t escape from. Fortunately, it was a new building so it did not collapse like others around,” the swimmer added who returns to Nepal about once a year to visit family. The young Singh then donated all winnings from the restaged championship to a charity set up by her father’s friend where she was made a goodwill ambassador.
Singh swam and finished 58th out of 66 swimmers in the 100m backstroke and 81st out of 90 in the 100m freestyle at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, last August and won four medals – three bronze and one silver – at the South Asian Games in India in February. Her personal best thus far is one minute, 8.12 seconds. The women’s 100m backstroke is on August 8 at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio. The world will no doubt be watching her very closely.
Feature Image Credit: mydreamsmag.com