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Young in years but high in hopes

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Egyptian teenage sensation Farida Osman is still in disbelief over her last-minute call up to the Olympic Games, making her the last entrant from Egypt heading to the Games in London.

By Reem Abulleil


Farida Osman when she competed in the Doha championships in 2011
(Photo by Reem Abulleil)

The 17 year old swimmer made history for Egypt when she became the first-ever junior world champion from the country when she won the 50m butterfly race in Peru last year.

In the process, she clocked a World Junior Championship record time of 26.69s and cemented her status as a future Olympic champion in the making. She says that medal gave her an incredible boost to reach for more and indeed she went on to win a whopping seven gold medals at the Arab Games in Doha last December, where she set the Olympic Standard Time (OST) in three of her events.

But that was not enough to guarantee her a spot in London, since only Olympic Qualifying Times earn you direct qualification, and those with OST are put on standby on an invitation list.

For the past six months she tried to get closer to the OQT and indeed she improved on many of her timings but when the deadline came for registering entries at the Olympics earlier this month, Osman was not given a place.

Until she got a surprise 6:00am call while on vacation with her family last weekend informing her that she has got a ticket to London to compete in the 50m freestyle event, where she has a 25.7s personal best.

“Everything happened so fast, we packed everything and came straight back to Cairo,” Osman told the Daily News Egypt. “I still can’t believe it, I’m so excited.

“It’s going to be an incredible experience, the first time at the Olympics is always very special and I can’t wait for the opening ceremony, meeting all the other athletes there and hanging around the Village. It’s going to be amazing.”

Although she says she usually gets nervous in big competitions, she is unfazed by the magnitude of the Olympics. She says: “I feel no pressure on me because really I have nothing to lose. I just want to improve on my timings. Getting a new personal best is my goal.”
But Osman already has an eye on Rio 2016 adding: “God willing in 2016 I will go for a medal for sure.”

 


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