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Fariha Zaman ready to make a splash

By PREETOM BOROOAH

NEW DELHI, Oct 3 � Assamese girl and ace swimmer Fariha Zaman, 19, who holds the national record in the 50m backstroke (31.22 seconds), is all excited and raring to go in the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Taking to The Assam Tribune, Fariha said this time India�s medal winning chances are high and the country�s athletes are very proud of hosting this mega event.

Fariha, who represents Karnataka in the national circuit, will be competing in three events � 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke and medley relay. Her first event, 100m backstroke, will kick off on October 4 at the Dr SP Mukherjee Swimming Complex. Fariha said she will be up against some of the top names in world. �I see the CWG here to be a great oppourtunity for me. Over the last month, I have had some good training and my lap timmings are quite promising. I also had the chance to swim at the competition venue,� she said.

As far as winning a medal is concerned, Fariha said, �winning a medal will be very tough, but I will give my best in the pool. I believe in dreaming big and I hope one day I will be able to bring an Olympic medal to India.�

Asked about the Games Village, Fariha was all praise for the accommodation. �A lot have been said about the conditions of the Games Village. But to be frank, it is top class and the facilities are the best in the world. The international athletes are pretty impressed with the facilities of the Village and some were quite surprised why some bad publicity was accorded to the Village. I am having a great time staying in the Village and this will give me that extra mile to perform according to expectation.�

This Commonwealth Games will not get to see triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice as she is sitting out the Games due to injury but the 52-member Australian squad has found a suitable replacement in Leisel Jones. �The abscene of top swimmers from England and Australia will pinch the organisers a bit but I�m sure the competition will be tough as all the swimmers, who have come for the Games, are world class. Australia will be the team to beat, with competition coming from England, particularly in the women�s events, a steadily resurgent Canada, plus experienced performers from New Zealand and South Africa. So be rest assured, there will be high volatge in the swimming arena,� quipped Fariha.

The Asian Games are just round the corner and Fariha said that if she is included in the Indian squad, it will be a good platform for her. The CWG will be the second big event for Fariha, after the World Championship in Rome last year and naturally the excitement levels are high.

�The part of the World Championship was very satisfying as a swimmer. Now, the CWG should be even better as there is a big Indian contingent for the event. We are all like family, we enjoy each other�s success. So I�m hoping we do well as a team,� added the talented swimmer.

Fariha is, however, disappointed that her friends Richa Mishra and Jyotsna Pansare will most probably miss the CWG. Although the National Doping Agency has cleared Richa and Jyotsna, their re-entry into the squad looks unlikely. �I feet very bad for them as they are my good friends. In fact, at the Jaipur Nationals, I came second behind Jyotsna,� said Fariha.

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Fariha Zaman ready to make a splash

NEW DELHI, Oct 3 � Assamese girl and ace swimmer Fariha Zaman, 19, who holds the national record in the 50m backstroke (31.22 seconds), is all excited and raring to go in the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Taking to The Assam Tribune, Fariha said this time India�s medal winning chances are high and the country�s athletes are very proud of hosting this mega event.

Fariha, who represents Karnataka in the national circuit, will be competing in three events � 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke and medley relay. Her first event, 100m backstroke, will kick off on October 4 at the Dr SP Mukherjee Swimming Complex. Fariha said she will be up against some of the top names in world. �I see the CWG here to be a great oppourtunity for me. Over the last month, I have had some good training and my lap timmings are quite promising. I also had the chance to swim at the competition venue,� she said.

As far as winning a medal is concerned, Fariha said, �winning a medal will be very tough, but I will give my best in the pool. I believe in dreaming big and I hope one day I will be able to bring an Olympic medal to India.�

Asked about the Games Village, Fariha was all praise for the accommodation. �A lot have been said about the conditions of the Games Village. But to be frank, it is top class and the facilities are the best in the world. The international athletes are pretty impressed with the facilities of the Village and some were quite surprised why some bad publicity was accorded to the Village. I am having a great time staying in the Village and this will give me that extra mile to perform according to expectation.�

This Commonwealth Games will not get to see triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice as she is sitting out the Games due to injury but the 52-member Australian squad has found a suitable replacement in Leisel Jones. �The abscene of top swimmers from England and Australia will pinch the organisers a bit but I�m sure the competition will be tough as all the swimmers, who have come for the Games, are world class. Australia will be the team to beat, with competition coming from England, particularly in the women�s events, a steadily resurgent Canada, plus experienced performers from New Zealand and South Africa. So be rest assured, there will be high volatge in the swimming arena,� quipped Fariha.

The Asian Games are just round the corner and Fariha said that if she is included in the Indian squad, it will be a good platform for her. The CWG will be the second big event for Fariha, after the World Championship in Rome last year and naturally the excitement levels are high.

�The part of the World Championship was very satisfying as a swimmer. Now, the CWG should be even better as there is a big Indian contingent for the event. We are all like family, we enjoy each other�s success. So I�m hoping we do well as a team,� added the talented swimmer.

Fariha is, however, disappointed that her friends Richa Mishra and Jyotsna Pansare will most probably miss the CWG. Although the National Doping Agency has cleared Richa and Jyotsna, their re-entry into the squad looks unlikely. �I feet very bad for them as they are my good friends. In fact, at the Jaipur Nationals, I came second behind Jyotsna,� said Fariha.