Gaurika Singh made her debut to the Olympics at the age of thirteen as the youngest athlete in the year 2016 Olympics held in Rio De Janeiro for which she trained about 17-20 hours every day making her rightful of the title “Mermaid of Nepal”. She has been only thriving since then and was a flag-bearer from Nepal for Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Family and Childhood
Gaurika was born on 26 November 2002 in Kathmandu, Nepal, and later moved to London with her family at the age of 2. Gaurika is the eldest child of Garima Rana who was an SLC (School Leaving Certificate) board topper in the year 1995 (2050 B.S. and surgeon Paras Singh. Garima was one of the three ladies who were chosen to get married to then crown prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah who lost his life in the Royal Massacre in the year 2001. And that led Garima Rana to marry a surgeon in London, then Gaurika was born. She has a younger brother called Sauren Singh.
Gaurika began her schooling at Haberdasher’s girls’ school in London then joined Belmont Mill Hill Preparatory School. Her parents encouraged her to swim as a life skill that later turned into a hobby and then to her fiery passion. Gaurika started her athletic journey with gymnastics and she also played hockey and netball in her school. She trains at Camden Swiss Cottage Swimming Club under coach Adam Taylor, who has produced world-class swimmers
She claims that the reason for her success is her extremely supportive parents and her hard work.
Swimming and Career
Who knew Gaurika’s participation in the Galaxy Cup Swimming championship would lead her to the Olympics? The beginning of her swimming career was when she participated in Galaxy Cup Swimming while she was in Kathmandu for her summer holidays. Gaurika then became a new but very popular name in swimming in Nepal.
She made national records in 4 sectors with her exceptional performance at the very young age of just 11. This was only the beginning for Gaurika to light a spark on her passion for swimming.
Gaurika gave her best in her training and added hours to make more national records in the 2015 national championship. Gaurika also made national records in the world aquatics championship in Russia and another in Dubai at FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) Swimming World Cup in 100m backstrokes.
Her performance in SAARC (South Asian Association For Regional Co-operation) games astonished everyone and encouraged her. She became the first athlete to win four medals in a single at the SAARC game with three bronze and four silver medals which also made her the recipient of a cash prize of sixty-two lakhs as encouragement by the Nepal government.
After her achievement of being the youngest athlete in the Rio Olympics, Gaurika proved her swimming talent again by winning 12 medals in National Swimming Championship. Her performance was almost magical in the SAARC Games 2015 making her the winner of 4 golds, 2 silver, and 3 bronze. She created an extraordinary record in the history of Nepali Sports beating the record of Dipak Bista’s record of 4 gold in the SAARC games.
Involvement in Social Work
Despite her uncommon achievements at a very young age, Gaurika is very humble and her modesty makes her one of Nepal’s favorite athletes. She is a goodwill ambassador for SEIN (Shanti Education Initiative Nepal) and also Maiti Nepal. She believes that records are made to be broken and encourages other women athletes to break her records.
SEIN aims to provide quality education to children at community schools in rural areas by providing innovative teaching methods to teachers and mobilizing international and national volunteers. It took initiatives of reconstructing schools in Nepal that were destroyed in the April 2015 (2072 B.S) earthquake and has completed physical infrastructure development of 26 schools from four districts, conducted teacher training benefiting more than 250 primary level teachers, and mobilized more than 25 national and international volunteers at nine schools with Gaurika as it’s goodwill ambassador.
Similarly, Maiti Nepal has been working to rescue the victims of trafficking by providing them shelter and skills to be independent. It is a movement to protect women who are the victims of violence, child prostitution, child labor, and any form of abuse. Anuradha Koirala, the founder of Maiti Nepal, was awarded CNN HERO in the year 2010.
Gaurika has expressed her love for her country at every opportunity, but there are moments when she has to prove herself as a Nepali. This would disappoint anyone after the efforts that they make for the nation but Gaurika, being as respectful as she is, is working harder to make her nation proud. She has always spoken about the improvement of infrastructure development in swimming and for the addition of facilities for Nepali athletes. There was also a petition signed against Gaurika being sent to Olympics as she trains in London.
Gaurika deserves all the praise that she receives and more, after all the sacrifices she has made to make the country proud. She is an inspiration to many young girls who want to pursue Swimming or any sports and we should support such talents and hard work rather than finding ways to bring them down.