The Egyptian swimmer Farida Osman says hard work is behind her recent success in the All-Africa Games in Congo and vows to do her best to achieve new glory in 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I won five gold medals and two silver and that was a great result. Thank God for what I achieved in Congo,” Farida told Ahram Online via phone from the USA on Friday.
After being Egypt’s best ever-female swimmer since the 2015 FINA World Championships in August, Farida continued her recent outstanding performances after winning seven medals in the multi-sport All-Africa Games.
In the women's competition, Farida won four gold medals in the 50m freestyle (25.12), 100m freestyle (0,55.41), 50m butterfly (26,31) and 100m butterfly (0,58.83) contests. She also won the gold with other teammates in the 4 × 100m medley relay in a time of 3,56.04.
Farida’s two silver medals were in the 4 × 100m freestyle relay (55,03) and the 4 × 100 m medley relay (59.72).
The Egyptian team ended the swimming competition in Congo in second place with 41 medals (11 gold, 18 silver, 12 bronze), 13 behind leaders South Africa.
In the previous edition of the All-Africa Games in 2011 in Maputo, Mozambique, the Egyptian swimming team finished fifth with two medals (one gold and one bronze), while South Africa led the table with 74 medals (33 gold, 22 silver and 18 bonze).
“I trained hard this season to prepare for the World Championships. My coach in the US put me in an intensive training programme and I was also able to participate in many events with my university,” Farida explained.
“Also, my achievement in Kazan last month was a good motivation to get these nice results in Congo especially as participating in the World Championships was an excellent opportunity to play alongside the world champions.
“My main challenge in Congo was the South African champions as they are all at a very high level. I know some of them because we competed before in some events,” she added.
The latest success comes on the heels of Egypt's best ever swimming achievement at the World Championships that saw Farida Osman and Ahmed Akram raise eyebrows amongst their supporters when they broke 11 national records in the Russian city Kazan.
The 20-year-old Osman became the first-ever Egyptian to qualify for the women’s 50m butterfly final, just a day after the 19-year-old swimmer Akram was the first ever Egyptian to qualify for the Men's 1500m final at the World Championships.
Akram finished fourth with 14:53.66m, while Osman finished fifth in the 50m butterfly with a time of 25.78 seconds.
New glory in Rio
Egypt's team, including the country's best ever duo Akram and Farida, will be on the radar next year at the Rio Olympics in Brazil.
In her only Olympic appearance to date, in London in 2012, Osman finished 42nd with a time of 26.34 in the 50m freestyle. However, she currently has a different outlook for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after reaching a new level of maturity.
“My next step is to concentrate and prepare well for the Olympics. My coach prepared a training programme that contains participating in camps and events so I can be in my best shape,” Farida explained.
“I will be competing there in the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle so the trio will take-up all my concentration in the coming period,” she concluded.
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