Photo-finish triumph for Gaurika Singh as she raced home her fourth goldNot only did the 17-year-old equal taekwondoin Deepak Bista’s record haul of four consecutive golds, she also bagged it all in a single edition.
Gaurika Singh began and ended the 13th South Asian Games with a bang, as she raced home her fourth gold in the women’s 100m freestyle on the final day of the swimming events at the Satdobato Swimming Complex, in Lalitpur.
A faint margin separated the top two swimmers as they came to a photo-finish—Singh clocked 58.13 seconds followed by India’s Shivangi Sharma who clocked 58.15.
The win made Singh the first and the youngest Nepali athlete to pocket four golds in a single edition of the Games. Besides, she also added to her medal haul a bronze medal for Nepal alongside Duana Lama, Tisa Shakya and Anushiya Tandukar in the women’s 400m medley relay on Monday.
“I wasn’t sure of a gold today as it is not my main event,” Singh said, after winning her fourth gold. “This (fourth) was the most impressive for myself. I came to know about my win because of the crowd. I was thrilled.”
Singh’s fourth gold at the Games puts her alongside ace taekwondoin Deepak Bista, who had won four consecutive gold medals in the Games: 1999 Games in Kathmandu; 2004 Games in Islamabad; 2006 Games in Colombo; and the 2010 Games in Dhaka.
An elated Singh said she was humbled by the overwhelming support and wished her records be broken. “It would be great if my records are bettered by someone else,” she said.
Besides her four golds, Singh has also managed to pocket two silver and three bronze medals in the Games this year, making her the most decorated Nepali athlete ever. She now has 13 medals to her name in the South Asian Games including her silver and three bronze medals in the 2016 Games in India.
“I am very happy with the results at the Games as we had not expected to do this well,” said Singh. “The most special moment for me during the Games was with the relay team; we did well. In the previous SAG, we didn’t win anything, but this time, we won three bronze medals.”
On Thursday, the first day of swimming events, Singh had won gold in the 200m freestyle and anchored Nepal to a bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Singh’s win was Nepal’s first individual gold in swimming at the Games. She then competed in the 200m backstroke on the second day landing the top podium finish.
Singh missed out on a third gold by a whisker on Saturday, earning a silver in the 100m backstroke before returning to the apex podium place on Sunday winning gold in the 400m freestyle event alongside a silver in the 50m backstroke and a bronze in the 800m freestyle relay.
“You just have to put in all the effort and you can achieve anything you can dream of,” she said. “But to achieve your dreams, you will have to make some sacrifices.”