Nepalese swimmer Gaurika Singh is set to be the youngest competitor at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Representing Nepal in the sport of swimming, Singh is just 13 years old.
The young teenager already has international racing experience, having competed at last year’s World Championships. In Kazan, Singh finished 81st in the women’s 100m freestyle and 58th in the 100m backstroke. Remarkably, even Singh wasn’t the youngest at that competition. 10-year-old Alzain Tareq from Bahrain was the youngest to swim at a World Championships.
“I wanted to go [to Rio] but wasn’t sure I’d be able to because I’d be too young,”says Singh. (Rio2016.com)
As far as an Olympic Games, there is no age minimum for swimmers having achieved Olympic-qualifying times. Singh be contesting the women’s 100m backstroke, an event in which she holds Nepal’s National Record (1:07.31).
While competing in Kathmandu for Nepal’s National Championships last April, Singh was present when a massive earthquake hit the region, resulting in approximtely 9,000 deaths.
“It was terrifying,” said Singh, who was in Nepal with her mother and little brother Sauren. “We were on the fifth floor of a building that we couldn’t escape from, so we sheltered under a table for 10 minutes in the middle of the room and had to go down the stairs afterwards amid the aftershocks.”
“Fortunately, it was a new building so it did not collapse like others around.” (Rio2016.com)
Singh takes to the Rio pool on Sunday for heats of the women’s 100m backstroke.