INTERVIEW: Egypt's swimmer Osman switches focus to 100m fly, 50m freestyle disciplines before Tokyo Games

Doaa Badr , Wednesday 2 Aug 2017

After making history for Egypt at FINA World Championships, swimmer Farida Osman speaks to Ahram Hebdo about her achievement and reveals her plans for the future

Farida Osman from Egypt celebrates after winning the bronze medal in the women's 50-meter butterfly final during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, July 29, 2017 AP

Egyptian swimmer Farida Osman, fresh from making an achievement for her country and Africa in the 50m butterfly event at the FINA World Championships, is looking forward to excelling in other disciplines in time to have a shot at an Olympic medal.

Osman became the first African to win a world medal after coming third in the 50m butterfly in 25.39 seconds, giving Egypt its first ever World Championship medal after clinching bronze.

Following her remarkable achievement in Budapest, the 22-year-old said she wants to taste further success when the 2020 Olympic Games takes place in Tokyo.

However, Osman would need to improve in other disciplines to have a chance of competing for medal in Tokyo, given that the Olympic Games does not feature the 50m butterfly event.

"I have been working on the 100m fly and 50m freestyle events but it is a different technique and it needs time. I need to work on improving my start in the races and also making my underwater periods longer and stronger," she said in an interview with Ahram Hebdo, the French-language newspaper of Al-Ahram.

Osman boasts of national and African records in the 50m and 100m freestyle and 100m fly but her figures are still way short of the world records in those disciplines.

In Budapest, she failed to reach the 100m butterfly semi-final after coming in 17th place with a time of 58.67 seconds.

Despite setting a new personal and African record at 24.62 seconds, Osman finished 9th in the women's 50m freestyle semifinal at the same tournament to miss out on the final.

Osman still has three years before Tokyo 2020, where she hopes to achieve her dream of winning an Olympic medal.

She is emboldened by the bronze medal she won in Budapest, which earned her widespread acclaim back home.

"Can't describe my feelings"

Sweden's gold medal winner Sarah Sjostrom is flanked by silver medal winner Ranomi Kromowidjojo from the Netherlands, left, and bronze medal winner Farida Osman from Egypt during the ceremony for the women's 50-meter butterfly heat during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, July 29, 2017 AP

"I cannot describe my feelings. I was very happy," Osman added.

"Till now I cannot believe that I realized this achievement.  After ending the course, I checked the results three times to make sure that my name was among the three medalists."

"It is a great achievement to win the first ever Egyptian medal at the World championships."

Osman said she had exerted lots of efforts to make a trip to the podium, adding that she has finally reaped the rewards of her hard work.  

"The bronze medal hasn't come easily.  I spent the past four Years in the United States. I left my family and my friends. My life was divided between my university studies and training. It was a very tough life but I'm rewarded with the bronze medal so I'm very delighted," she stated.

Seventh in 50 m fly in Barcelona 2013 and fifth in Kazan 2015, Osman's bronze medal in Budapest seems a logic improvement.

She believes that she benefited from the experience gained from her previous two participations at the World Championship.

 "In 2013, I was only 18 years and I didn't have the sufficient experience to compete in such world tournaments but I produced a fine performance, becoming the first Egyptian swimmer to reach a World Championship final," she said.

"I improved my performance in 2015 with my fifth-place finish. I gained a good experience that helped me win the bronze medal in 2017."

*This interview was published in Ahram Hebdo on Wednesday 

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