National champion Israr Hussain, Pakistan’s lone surviving swimming representative, dives into the pool tomorrow for the men’s 100m freestyle, having a go at fulfilling his aim of Olympic glory.
Hussain earned a wild-card entry to the London Games after his show in the Shanghai qualifiers and now the 26-year-old will be competing against the world’s best and, according to him, he knows that he is not anywhere close to the medal run. His aim, he adds, is to improve on his national record.
“Participating in the Olympics has been my life-long dream and it is about to come true,” Hussain told The Express Tribune from London. “I have been personally training for it since 2008. It is my first time at the Olympics so I am thrilled and nervous at the same time.”
Hussain hails from the suburbs of Rawalpindi where he used to swim in a lake and, in order to pursue his passion for swimming, he enlisted himself in the Army and has been participating in local events for the last 10 years.
“Swimming is one of the most competitive sport in the world and we lag behind other countries in terms of available facilities. Any Pakistani swimmer, even the best ones in the country, is bound to trail others in international competitions. However, I feel lucky to get the wild card for the Olympics and I’m quite aware of my limitations.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.