2016: Singh wins the first-ever medal for Nepal in individual swimming event in the South Asian Games
By NLRC Staff, February 2016

Contents

Achievement summary

Nepal had never won a medal in an individual event in swimming in the South Asian Games (SAG). That was soon to be a thing of the past. A 13-year-old girl, Gaurika Singh, took Nepali swimming to new heights by not only winning a medal in the event but also by winning four of them in the latest edition of the games, breaking Nepal's many other SAG records including being the first person to win four medals in a discipline in a single edition of the games.

When Singh won a bronze medal in 200m backstroke, Nepali swimming's success reached new heights with its first-ever individual medal in the discipline. Breaking this newly set record, she also won a silver medal in 200m individual medley being the first Nepali to win a silver medal in an individual event in swimming, and also added couple more bronze medals in 100m backstroke and 400m freestyle.

Nepal connection

Singh moved to the United Kingdom with her parents at a very young age and trains at a swimming club in London. She made headlines during her trip to Nepal in 2014 when she took part in a national swimming championships and broke multiple national records when she was just 11. Singh, who also competed at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Russia, aged 12, hopes to compete at the Olympic Games and win for Nepal.

To participate in the latest edition of the South Asian Games, Singh, with her father, had arrived in India where the games were being held. "She's been practicing hard for the last five years." her father recalled before they headed back to London after the games, "She hoped to do well but she had not thought she would win a medal. She won medals for the country; I am very happy."[1]

While the Nepali community has celebrated this success with much joy, Singh's success has also highlighted the need to develop adequate swimming facilities in Nepal and shown that the lack of such facilities has prevented swimmers in Nepal to perform to their potential. With effectively no indoor swimming pools in Nepal, the athletes are able to practice only during certain months of the year.

Singh hopes that the swimmers in Nepal get better facilities and better coaches. After her success in the 2014 national championships, she said, "[They need] a better facility because they can only swim three times a month, and I feel very sorry for them." She continued, "I think they'd be very good if they swam in indoor pools and had better coaches to guide them; it's very hard for them."[2]

Singh, who is also involved in charitable activities, said, after winning the silver medal at SAG, she wanted to dedicate the medal to Nepal and to those who had suffered from the 2015 earthquake.[3]

Singh's success has also become a source of inspiration to the Nepali community that has taken her achievement as a matter of great pride. We hope that her success will encourage and facilitate the development of better swimming facilities in Nepal and that, with such facilities available, more young swimmers in Nepal get the opportunity they deserve.

Update, August 2016: At age 13, Gaurika Singh became the youngest athlete to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics according to the official news service of the Rio 2016 Games.[4] "I wanted to go but wasn't sure I'd be able to because I'd be too young," Singh said, according to the Olympic News Service, "when I found out a month ago, it was a big shock." Singh said, according to the Olympic News Service.

Congratulations Ms. Singh on your achievement and thank you for being a role model to many. Your success story will inspire many others in the community to craft their own success stories.

© NLRC

References
[1] Aryal, Nabin. "SAG-ka star" [Stars of SAG]. Nepal [Kathmandu] 21 Feb. 2016: 42-44. Print.
[2] Terai Television. "TTV Champions Q&A - Gaurika Singh." Online video clip. YouTube. 1 Aug. 2014. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
[3] Regmi, Govinda. "Gaurika-lai rajat-sahit char padak" [Four medals including a silver to Gaurika]. Annapurna Post [Kathmandu] 11 Feb. 2016: 1. Print.
[4] Olympic News Service, "Meet the earthquake survivor who is the youngest Olympian at Rio 2016." Rio 2016, 1 Aug. 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
About Success Stories
The Success Stories series features achievements by individuals or groups from or with ties to Nepal. In addition to highlighting the contributions to the society, the Success Stories series hopes to promote the inspiration these achievements provide among the community.


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