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UWC student makes her Olympic debut

UWC student makes her Olympic debut

OLYMPICS: Phuket-based swimmer Aniqah Gafoor made her debut at Olympic level when she took to the pool last week in the Tokyo 2020 Games.

By Ben Tirebuck

Saturday 31 July 2021, 09:00AM

Aniqah, a UWC Thailand student-athlete who holds the Sri Lankan national record for both 50m and 100m fly, represented her home country last Saturday (July 24) in the 100m Butterfly event at the Tokyo Aquatic centre.

She was seeded in heat 1, starting in lane 5, with an entry time of 1’04’58, which is the current Sri Lankan National Record she had previously set. She finished her swim last Saturday in Tokyo with a time of 1’05’33, ranking in 32nd place.

It was an admirable debut at the highest level for the 17-year-old who was the youngest athlete representing her home country. In a recent interview she claimed she had “nothing to lose” by being at the Games and competing with the world’s best. With time very definitely on her side, Aniqah will have gained invaluable experience from her Olympic adventure and look to future competitions with great confidence.

“The UWC Thailand Community is extremely proud of her performance and achievement, she has worked extremely hard and overcome many hurdles,” UWC Thailand said on its website.

Miguel Lopez, Aniqah’s coach at the Thanyapura Sports & Health Resort where she resides and trains, said he was proud of her on his Facebook page. Many other posts of congratulations poured in from well wishers too.

You can read a previous interview with Aniqah here where she outlines her aspirations of qualifying for and competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Thanyapura Sports & Health Resort, which provides FINA-approved training facilities had several swimmers competing at the Games.

Bakri Abass swam on the same day as Aniqah in the men’s 100m breaststroke and managed to break the national Sudanese record with a time of 1’04’46.

UWC Thailand

Tilali Scanlan, representing American Samoa, broke her country’s national record in the 100m Breaststroke last Sunday (July 25) by more than four seconds, stopping the clock in 1’10’01.

Representing Madagascar were Michael Rasolonjatovo and Murielle Rabarijaona who competed in the men’s 100m backstroke and women’s 400m freestyle respectively.

Sangay Tenzin became the first ever Olympic swimmer to represent Bhutan, setting a new national record in the process with a time of 57’57 in the men’s 100m freestyle event.

Similarly, Alexander Gadegaard from Nepal set a new national record in the same event with a time of 53’57.

Edgar Richardson representing the Solomon Islands and Jagger Stephens from Guam are also swimmers who competed and train at Thanyapura.

UWC Thailand is the only International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school south of Bangkok to be accredited by the World Academy of Sport, making it one of only 22 Athlete Friendly Education Centres on the planet. With this accreditation, student-athletes can extend their completion of the IB Diploma Programme across three years, rather than two, allowing them to reach their Olympic dreams without sacrificing their education goals.

The swimmers all train at Thanyapura Sports & Health Resort, which provides FINA-approved training facilities. Situated directly adjacent to the campus, the premises are only a two-minute walk from the students’ dormitories, eliminating travel time and allowing students to better concentrate on their six-hour training days with Coach Miguel Lopez. Cutting out the commute also gives promising athletes more time to study, rest, eat well, and have fun.

For more information on the programmes, boarding house, and what it means to have a UWC Thailand education, take the virtual tour at

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