Female swimming: Flagging future, rising hopes

There is no dearth of courageous and talented Pakistan female swimmers.


Sehrish Wasif July 07, 2011

There is no dearth of courageous and talented Pakistan female swimmers who, in spite of flagging facilities and opportunities in the country, are making their mark in the sport.

The zealous passion and a twinkling dream to make a name in the sport is reflected in the determination of countless emerging swimmers.

Fourteen-year-old Lianna Swan, who came from Dubai where she is currently based with her family, made her mark in the 12th National Women Swimming Championship 2011 held last month at the Jinnah Sports Complex in Islamabad. With a 100 per cent record, she won four gold medals in the four events she participated in.

“It was my passion that brought me here,” Swan told The Express Tribune.

“It was the first time I was taking part in such a championship and I did not know what to expect so I was a bit nervous but my fellow participants supported me a lot.

“I am pleased with how I performed during the competition. The win made me confident and instilled a sense of motivation to progress further,” she said.

“I’m hoping to become more professional, faster and stronger. My dream is to represent my country, Pakistan, in more championships,” she said.

However, passion can be diluted through a number of issues that the sport faces in Pakistan.

Lianna thinks that there is a lack of female spectators during swimming competitions in Pakistan. A cordial crowd with more females could make the environment more comfortable for women participants, according to the swimmer.

While some are passionate, others are pursuing unlikely dreams.

Areeba Sheikh, a 10-year-old swimming prodigy, flew from Karachi to participate in the national championship and won a bronze medal.

“I was inspired by my father and aunt to get in to this sport and I started swimming almost four years ago,” she said.

Javeria Fatima, 16, and Warda Fatima, 15, two sisters from Islamabad participated in the event with high spirits and no training from professional coaches.

“We both reached the national level without getting training from a coach,” said Warda.

“It is really disappointing to see no professional female coaches in Islamabad to hone young talent like us. Besides this, the presence of males near the swimming pool area is quiet discouraging,” she said.

“If we get facilities and professional coaches, we can make our mark at the international level,” said Warda.

Competition in the sport is ripe. Warda wants to beat Kiran Khan – a seasoned Pakistani swimmer who broke her own record in the in the 100-metre butterfly event and won 14 gold medals.

There is a plethora of talented young female swimmers in the country. However, lack of professional training and organisation puts a potentially bright future of this sport at risk.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.

COMMENTS (8)

emad ahmed | 10 years ago | Reply

what males to do with women swimming .why they were there.male should be ban by law and punished with plenty .idiotz. keep it up young girls.....

Shahid3 | 10 years ago | Reply ...Women were not going to swim because there were men around? It seems like a lifetime ago, but there was a time when such notions would have been laughed away as ridiculous
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