Singh sets new national record at Tokyo 2020Singh finished the long course distance in 1 minute 00.11 seconds to better her previous record of 1 minute 00.62 seconds set at the FINA World Championship in South Korea in 2019.
Nepali swimmer Gaurika Singh set a national record in women's 100 m freestyle at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre at Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
Singh, who lives in London with her parents, finished the long course distance in 1 minute 00.11 seconds to better her previous record of 1 minute 00.62 seconds set at the FINA World Championship in South Korea in 2019. She also holds the short course (25 m pool) record at 58.13 seconds set during the 13th South Asian Games in December 2019.
Singh finished third in the heat 1 among four participants. Despite taking the lead halfway through in her heat, she ultimately finished third to crash out from the first round. The 18-year-old, who came into limelight at 2016 Rio Olympics as the youngest athlete to compete in the event at 13 years and 256 days, finished 50th overall among 51 swimmers in the event.
Singh was ahead of Guam's Mineri Kurotori Gomez. Only the swimmers finishing within the top 16 positions secured a place into the next round.
"I am very happy to set a new national record and I was hoping to give my best," said Singh, who did not enter the pool for eight months (until February 2020) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "I had not trained at a long course since the pandemic. I practiced at long course only after arriving in Japan," Singh said, adding that she could perform better at short course because she turns faster underwater.
Emma McKeon of Australia, who secured first position in the heat clocking 52.13 seconds, broke the women’s 100 m freestyle Olympic record. The previous record was 52.62 set by Sarah Sjostrom. Hong Kong's SB Haughey came second with the timing of 52.70 seconds while Britain's Anna Hopkin was third at 52.75 seconds.
On Tuesday, Nepal's Alexander Shah set a new national record in men's 100 m freestyle clocking 53.41 seconds to better his previous national record of 55.38 seconds. Shah did not qualify for the next round.
Among the five Nepali athletes competing in the Games, judoka Soniya Bhatta and shooter Kalpana Pariyar made an early exit, losing in the first rounds.
Sprinter Saraswati Chaudhary will compete in the women's 100 m race on Friday.