NSA enforces regulation in bid to restrict Gaurka Singh’s participation in multiple events

  • Regulation stipulates one swimmer can take part in no more than four events
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 14, 2017-In a decision that would shock country's swimming community, Nepal Swimming Association (NSA) has introduced a regulation barring swimmers from participating in more than four events, which according to NSA insiders serves a sole purpose to deny national teenage swimming sensation Gaurika Singh from participating in multiple events.

NSA intends to implement this new regulation in the upcoming National Swimming Championships scheduled to begin from August 17.

The National Swimming Competition organising committee under Vice Chairman Gita Rana, also a lawmaker, announced the competition dates and the regulation that would bar swimmers from participating in more than four events. The organising committee said such move was aimed at making the competition more inclusive.

“Keeping in view the inclusiveness in the sport, we have introduced the regulation that no players will be allowed to participate in more than four events so that only one player will not win all the events,” said NSA officials during a press meet on Sunday.

The final date for the submission of event participation form was August 26 and Singh had submitted application for entry form at the NSA, National Sports Council and Sports Ministry.

NSA, however, has also gone a step further and is mulling postponement of the national event in a bid to discourage the youngest Olympian in the history of the sport from participating in the competition. However, the association has not taken a final decision on the event postponement issue.

The association’s one of a kind regulation is almost unheard in the swimming world.

Singh, 14, has 30 national records to her name and her competitors fear diving into the same pool with her as some of her timings fare much better even than her national male counterparts.

During the 12th South Asian Games, Singh won a record 4 medals—one silver and three bronze to better her own national record—at the age of 14.

Gaurika, who currently lives with her parents in London, England, arrived in Nepal on August 2 to take part in the national competition. Singh had reached the finals of English Age Group Championship and British Open Water Championship back in England but opted not to take part in it and instead fly to Nepal for the national competition.

Meanwhile, FINA (International Swimming Federation), the regulatory body for administering international competition in water sports, has no such regulation and allows athletes to participate in any events they wish to, even in the Olympics.

Katie Ledecky of the United States had won six medals at the World Swimming Championships that was held on July 30 in Hungary and legendary swimmer Michael Phelps also had won eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympics.

Likewise, in Nepal Karishma Karki had secured 12 gold medals in the 5th edition of national championships and and Shirish Gurung had claimed 14 gold medals in the 7th National Swimming Championships.

Similarly, Singh, during the 19th edition of the national swimming competition had won 8 gold and 1 silver medals along with national record in her belt at the age of 11 and on the 20th swimming championship she had won 6 gold medals.

Meanwhile, Paras Bahadur Singh, Gaurika’s father, has said that they may be compelled to search for other options if NSA keeps on obstructing Gaurika’s participation in national events.

“Gaurika has achieved so much for the country in a small age,” said Paras, “For her (Gaurika) Nepal and swimming matters the most but if the association keeps on creating hurdles then we have to look for other options as well.”

Published: 14-08-2017 13:34

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