Thursday, March 23, 2023

Nepali swimmer Gaurika breaks national record in the Tokyo Olympic

KATHMANDU: Nepali swimmer Gaurika Singh broke the national record in women’s 100m freestyle preliminary heats at the Tokyo Olympic Games today.

Singh, the youngest athlete of the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, finished the distance in one minute and 0.11 seconds in the Heat-1 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. She finished third among four swimmers and failed to make it to the semi-finals.

But Singh – who claimed nine medals including four golds in the 13th South Asian Games held on home soil in December 2019 – set the new national record breaking her own mark of 1:00.62. She had set the record in the FINA World Championship in 2019.

Nigeria’s Abiola Ogunbanwo won the four-swimmer heats in 59.74 seconds, while Montenegro’s Andela Antunovic came second in 1:00.01.

Guam’s Mineri Kurotori Gomez was fourth in 1:04.00.

Singh was satisfied with her performance and happy with the new national record. “I am happy to break the national record and also relieved that I performed well,” said Singh, who lives in London with her family. “I was not able to enter the pool for eight months due to coronavirus pandemic last year and I had not set any target for the Games,” she added.

“I was determined to put in my 100 per cent and I am happy that I was able to perform well here,” she added.

Top 16 swimmers from seven preliminary heats made it to the semi-finals. Australia’s Emma McKeon smashed the Olympic record with a personal best time of 52.13 seconds, breaking the mark of 52.62 held by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey was second fastest in 52.70 seconds, ahead of Great Britain’s Anna Hopkin and Australia’s Cate Campbell.

On Tuesday, another Nepali swimmer Alex Gadegaard Shah broke national record in men’s 100m freestyle event.

Nepal’s participation will end on Friday after athlete Saraswati Chaudhary competes in 100m heats. Shooter Kalpana Pariyar broke national record in 10m Air Rifle, while judoka Soniya Bhatta crashed out of first round in below-48kg weight category.

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