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Meet Ibrahim, Kashmir’s wonder kid national swimmer

Post by on Sunday, August 7, 2022

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At the age of 10, he crossed the serene waters of Nigeen Lake swimming for more than a kilometer, non-stop. A year later, he completed a five kilometer swim in a single go in the lake. A few months later, he stood third in the National fin swimming championship in Haryana. And now at just 12 years of age, he is eyeing to swim 10 km to be the first child of his age to do so. Meet Ibrahim Khan, the youngest national swimmer of Kashmir.
Khan, is an agile child of his parents – engineer father and homemaker mother.  He compelled his parents to allow him to participate in swimming training classes when he was in his class 3rd.
However, due to limited swimming training schedules and too many students willing to learn swimming, he was getting very little time in the school for the sport.
The Covid pandemic proved a blessing in disguise for the young boy, Riyaz Khan, father of Ibrahim said.
Riyaz Khan said his son Ibrahim could not learn much about swimming up to 2020. “In 2020 during the Covid- 19 pandemic lockdown, one of his friends told him about the Water Sports Centre of the Tourism Department situated at Nigeen Club where ‘Swim N Survival Society’ was conducting free-of-cost training classes for all with the support of the department.”
 “I went there myself to learn swimming and for the first few days, I was convinced that it was safe to learn there. I then took my son Ibrahim along for the swimming sessions which were held early in the morning and would finish before the restrictions were imposed for the daytime,” he said.
He completed the first Nigeen Lake Cross during the same year which is about one kilometer non-stop under the guidance of master trainer Riyaz Ahmed Wani and with the support of other coaches.
“The swimming gives me a thrill and I feel a strange feeling of achievement every time I am in the water,” Ibrahim said.
Riyaz Khan was quick to note: “I think it made him more focused and attentive to studies and we also saw improvement in his performance”.
The young swimmer also joined the skiing course through the school and completed his advanced skiing course at Gulmarg which was conducted by the Tyndale Biscoe School.
During the summer of 2021 when the swimming was started again in June at Nigeen Water Sports Center (WSC), he was among the first few kids who jumped into the cold waters. 
“During 2021 Ibrahim developed more interest for long distance swimming and completed the first five kilometer swim in Nigeen Lake in about 3 hours and his age at that time was only 11 years,” Khan said.
“That flared up the interest in other kids for the similar feat and subsequently a number of kids of his equivalent age completed the similar long distance swim.”
 “He participated in a number of competitions held in 2021 which included Legends Swimming Championship where he stood first in the under 13-year category,” Khan added.
In the 4th Underwater Swimming Championship held in Haryana, he stood 3rd in the competition in the 11-13 year category.
Swimming expert and trainer Riyaz Wani told Rising Kashmir that Ibrahim is a top-class long-distance swimmer. “He has covered 5kms distance twice in swimming. He is the youngest swimmer in society and has the potential to compete on any national platform.”    
 “After seeing the swimming potential in the young kid I am preparing him for 10 km long-distance swimming now,” he added.
His interest in swimming competitions has increased with time and he intends to go to the national level events.
“The only problem with that is the lack of all-weather swimming pools in Kashmir Division as I would get only about 3-4 months of actual practice in a year which is negligible when compared with the rest of the country and the world,” Ibrahim said.
He said the swimmers in other parts of the country and the world do daily practice for the entire year which helps them to keep up their stamina and improve their speed.
As schools started this year, he faced another challenge of a change in routine. He has to get up at 5 am and then do the practice until 6:45 am and then straight away rush home to prepare to go to school.
Currently, he is in Indore Madhya Pradesh to participate in the Underwater Swimming Championship.
He is now a permanent member of the swimming squad of the TBS School as swimming has become his passion.
“I am also preparing for a 10km long-distance swim this year and am working hard to accomplish the task,” Ibrahim added.
 

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