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Gaurika Singh, Youngest Olympian in Rio, is Nepal's flagbearer in Tokyo

Gaurika Singh at 13 was the youngest Olympian in Rio 2016, yesterday, she carried the flag for Nepal at the Tokyo Olympics

Gaurika Singh to represent Nepal in 100m women
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Gaurika Singh became the flagbearer for Nepal at the Tokyo Olympics [Source: The Kathmandu Post]

By

Naveed Mohammed

Updated: 2021-07-24T14:00:21+05:30

Gaurika Singh was the youngest Olympian at the Rio Olympics in 2016, yesterday she was the flagbearer for her country on the biggest stage in Tokyo. Singh's tremendous feat in Rio sent the Nepalese press into a frenzy, with newspapers like The Kathmandu Post declaring, "She (Gaurika Singh) is Nepal's best swimmer so far".

At just 13 years of age, the budding teenager, Gaurika, took to the pool at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro against world-class swimmers in the 100m backstroke event. Singh was named '30 under 30' by Forbes in Asia, Entertainment and Sports 2021. The Country with the highest peaks in the world is yet to reach the high point of winning an Olympic medal despite continuous representation at the event since the 1972 Munich Olympics.


Singh, born in Nepal, moved to London in 2004, where she studied at the Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls. Gaurika had won her heat in Rio but finished 31st overall with a time of 1:08.45s and couldn't make the semifinal in the 100m breaststroke. This time around, she will be participating in the 100m freestyle under the Universality quota for the Olympics in Tokyo. Universality quota permits one male and one female swimmer from a Country to participate in the Olympics provided no one from the same gender has qualified for the Olympics or received a FINA invite through Olympic selection timing. Alexander Gadegaard Shah grabbed the male Universality quota invite for Nepal in 100m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.

Gaurika will start her second Olympics from Lane 4 in Heat 1, with Mineri Gomez of Guam and Abiola Ogunbanwo of Nigeria on either side of her on Wednesday, July 28. Singh already has a galore of South Asian Games medals with four gold, three silver, and six bronze medals. Singh's chances of making it to the semifinals look bleak with a stacked list of swimmers in the 100m freestyle. Notable swimmers like Sarah Sjöström, the current World Record holder in 100m freestyle, and Zhang Yufei will be coming off the diving board, but 2021 timings indicate that the Australians Emma McKeown and Cate Campbell will be the favourites.

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