Nepali Aqua Queen Gaurika Claims Hat-Trick Of Gold Medals

Nepal’s medal tally reaches 165 with 45 golds

By Pramod Joshi/ Anjan Khadka
Lalitpur, Dec 8: Nepali aqua queen Gaurika Singh on Sunday became the first swimmer and the Nepali player to make a hat-trick of gold medals at South Asian Games. Gaurika, who won 200 meter freestyle and backstroke gold medals, completed the treble by winning the 400 meter freestyle in the swimming of the 13th SAG held at Satdobato Swimming Complex.

She finished the 400m freestyle with a time of 4 minute and 25.28 seconds. Her close rival Indian swimmer Shivangi Sharma was just a second behind her to finish at the second place with 4 minute 26.22 seconds. Sri Lankan Ramudi Nulara Samarakoon finished at the third position with a time of 4 minutes and 41.91 seconds.

In the 50 meter backstroke, Gaurika settled for silver medal after she finished behind Indian swimmer Manna Patel, who clocked 28.94 seconds for the gold medal. Gaurika timed 29.71 seconds to trail behind Patel at second place. Ridhima Veerendrakumar of India took the bronze medal with a time of 30.46 seconds.

In the 800meter freestyle relay, Gaurika led Nepal to bronze medal today. Nepal timed 9 minutes and 3.04 seconds to finish at third place. India timed 8 minutes and 41.07 seconds to bag gold while Sri Lanka timed 8 minutes and 54.91 seconds for silver medal.

Gaurika also won the silver medal in the 100 meter backstroke and led Nepal to bronze medal in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay.Likewise, Duana Lama claimed the silver medal in women’s 200 meter butterfly. She clocked 2 minutes and 21.83 seconds to complete her swimming. Apeksha Delyla Fernandes won the gold for India with a time of 2 minutes and 33.16 seconds while Bangladesh’s Junyana Ahmed pocketed bronze with a time of 2 minutes and 33.75 seconds.

After winning the third historical gold medals in the 13th South Asian Games, Gaurika said that she felt nervous after winning the third gold medal for the nation as she could not describe her feat. “I am happy with the infrastructure and they had constructed the wonderful pool in a short period.”

She said that the presence of her grandfather at the spectators’ stand jubilated her beyond her imagination. “After finishing my swim, I had just opened my eyes and then saw my grandfather who had been cheering me up for my achievement from the stand. I felt very happy seeing my grandpa cheering me up,” Gaurika said.

“I had arrived at the swimming pool with an aim of giving my best performance and after winning the gold medals I knew that I created a history for my nation as a first Nepali and first woman swimmer. I would like to inspire others women to do well in the sports in Nepal,” Gaurika added. “I was inspired by the performance of Duana, she is an inspiration for me for winning gold. I was surprised to hear loud cheering from my fans which I had not expected. I must now work hard to become a superstar in Nepal,” Gaurika said.

“My first gold medal is dedicated to Nepal, the second gold medal is for Maiti Nepal and Shanti Education. I wanted to dedicate my third gold medal to my grandfather whose birthday is on coming Tuesday. The third gold medal will be a gift for my grandfather on his birthday.” “Hopefully, I will do my best in the next competition”. “My performance in the SAG is better than my expectation with my new coach who is monitoring me from London,” Gaurika said.

(from The Rising Nepal)

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