Nepal will send two swimmers to represent the country at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Alexander Gadegaard Shah will represent on the men’s side and Gaurika Singh will represent on the women’s side. They both received FINA Universality invitations and will be coached by Coach Shankar Karki.
Nepal has never won a medal at the Olympics, but the country consistently sends multiple athletes to each Summer Games.
At the 2016 Games, the country sent seven athletes to Rio. The seven athletes included two swimmers, Sirish Gurung and Gaurika Singh. Both athletes received a Universality invitation from FINA. Gurung competed in the men’s 100 freestyle and finished in 58th with a time of 57.76. That time was also a national record at the time. Singh competed in the women’s 100 backstroke and finished 31st with a time of 1:08.45.
At this year’s Olympic Games, Nepal will be represented by five athletes as well as one athlete at the Paralympic Games. Outside of the swimming roster, Soniya Bhatta will compete in Judo, Kalpana Pariyar will compete in the 10 Meter Air Rifle, Sarswati Chaudhary will compete in the women’s 100 meter track, and Palesha Govardhan will compete as a Para-Taekwondo athlete.
In the pool, Singh will represent Nepal in her second straight Olympic Games. At the 2016 Rio Games, she was the youngest competitor in any sport at age 13, pulling off a win in the first heat of the 100 backstroke.
In 2019 at the 13th South Asian Games, she won 4 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze medals. She holds national records in the long course 50, 100, 200, and 400 freestyles, 50, 100, and 200 backstrokes, 50 and 100 butterflies, as well as the 200 IM. Last month, she was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 Entertainment and Sports list.
On July 13, the Nepal Olympic Committee announced that Singh will be a flag bearer for the opening ceremony. She is the 14th announced swimmer to be a flag bearer.
On the men’s side, Shah will represent Nepal in his first Olympic Games. In 2019, he represented Nepal at the World Championships. He finished 101st in the 50 freestyle as well as 102nd in the 100 freestyle. He holds national records in both the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Both swimmers will be college freshmen in the fall. Shah has announced his commitment to swim and study at Fordham University, and Singh will be attending Tufts University.
The swimmers departed for Japan on July 8 and are set to train there until they join the Olympic Village on July 20.