Among one of the largest Indian contingents to ever participate in the Olympic games is a debutant who deserves a special mention – 18-year-old Shivani Kataria – the first Indian woman swimmer at the Summer Olympics since 2004. Shivani will compete in the 200m freestyle category for India at the biggest stage for athletes.
Here are a few facts worth knowing about this young sportswoman:
- Hailing from Haryana, Shivani discovered her way around a pool when she was six years old. The little girl went on to summer camp at the Baba Gang Nath Swimming Centre near her house and got hooked on to the biggest interest of her life – swimming.
- Her learning curve has been slow and steady, with constant improvement which has led to her getting a ticket to Rio.
- She finished sixth in the 200 m freestyle at the 2013 Asian Youth Championships and is a 2016 South Asian Games Gold medallist.
- Her participation in the Olympics has happened by way of a wild card entry. Kataria was selected by Swimming Federation of India (SFI) president, Digambar Kamat, since no other Indian swimmer made the cut in the qualifying rounds. Further, she met the other criteria for qualification, that of having participated in the previous World Championships.
- Young Shivani sees the 2016 Olympics qualification more as a learning curve which will strengthen her chances in the 2020 Olympics.
- She has already set her future goal- to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and clinch an Olympic medal there. Other goals are to perform well in upcoming tournaments such as the Nationals and World Championships and qualifying for the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Women’s swimming is scheduled to take place on August 6 to 13. Tune in if you want to see how she fares.
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