Swimming: Next target, Rio 2016, says Anam Banday

Pakistan’s teenage Olympian happy despite last position, vows improvement.


Natasha Raheel July 30, 2012

KARACHI: Anam Banday has taken her Olympics heartbreak in her stride, preparing herself for the next edition already and looking forward to putting in 30 hours of pool time and 10 hours of gym every week.

Anam, a wild-card entrant, failed to progress past her 400m IM heat on Saturday, ending last among 35 starters but did manage to improve her national record by over two seconds. However, now she hopes to qualify for Rio 2016 instead of relying on a wild-card.

“I’m happy with my performance because I was able to improve and now my target is to qualify for the next Olympics,” Anam told The Express Tribune. “Finishing last doesn’t really bother me because I was doing my own race. The experience here was scary and amazing at the same time. I always knew that I had a slim chance of qualifying for the next round but, to be honest, this result has only motivated me to do better. I still need to work very hard in order to compete with international swimmers but my immediate plan is to break more records in Pakistan.”

Banday, who has been swimming since she was four, was born and brought up in London, training in Islamabad for three years and began participating in domestic events before being selected for the Olympics qualifiers.

“My experience in Pakistan has been great and getting the wild-card was simply overwhelming. It just gave me more confidence that I can be an international athlete. I will be training in London because I am with a club here, the facilities are better and the coaches are more experienced.”

Meanwhile, fellow swimmer Israr Hussain, who will be competing in the 100m freestyle event, is not too confident about his results and despite the low expectations, he wants to do more than just improve his national record.

“Taking part in the Olympics was a dream that has come true but as the race draws closer, I’m getting more and more nervous and I don’t want to waste the opportunity now,” said the 26-year-old. “I want to get past the first heat. I can’t wait for another four years like Anam. She’s young, I’m not.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2012.

COMMENTS (7)

Kashif Zia | 8 years ago | Reply

Without proper coaching and facilities (meaning involvement of the Govt.), it is not possible to produce world class athletes in games which have no tradition in Pakistan. We should either plan for it at govt. level or focus more on sports like Wrestling, Weight lifting, and boxing which having some roots in the society and in our Armed forces.

Syed Arbab Ahmed | 8 years ago | Reply

Recent but expected debacle in London 2012 Olympics:

It was expected but it’s embarrassing at the same time the way 6th most populous nation in the world i.e. Pakistan not able to win a single Olympic medal since 1992, and the graph of sports hitting new low every time, it’s hard to believe that we used to had 4 world cups in different sports at the same in mid nineties. Pakistan’s very slim of slimmest hope field hockey was shown mirror in a must win match against Australia by losing to harrowing 7-0 defeat. This situation will not change as long as our players after coming last says: After finishing last said, ‘I’m happy with my performance because I was able to improve …’- Anam Banday (wild-card entrant) was she going in Olympics to improve her personal best????

I read a blog few days back for this same situation: Suggestion to regain PRIDE in sport of Pakistan

http://bit.ly/qgNlf2

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