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Kiran Khan, Rubab Raza on women’s swimming team for South Asian Games

02 August, 2006

KARACHI: Star swimmers Kiran Khan and Rubab Raza are part of the 10-member Pakistan women’s swimming team, that will represent the country in the forthcoming 10th South Asian Games, due to be staged in Colombo, Sri Lanka, later this month.

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KARACHI: Star swimmers Kiran Khan and Rubab Raza are part of the 10-member Pakistan women’s swimming team, that will represent the country in the forthcoming 10th South Asian Games, due to be staged in Colombo, Sri Lanka, later this month.

While Kiran has appeared in Pakistan colours in the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games, in addition to several other international swimming meets, the now 15-year-old Rubab created history when she became the first Pakistani female swimmer ever at an Olympiad, having taken part in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

The other members of the squad bound for Colombo are Mehrunnisa Khan, Eesha Khan, Sana Abdul Wahid, Ayesha Tajwar and Rida Sabahat (all Pakistan Army), Aqsa Tariq and Ghulam Sakina (both Sindh) and Khadija Khalid (WAPDA).

Kiran Khalid Zaman Khan also represents WAPDA in swimming competitions at home while Rubab Raza is registered with the Pakistan Army.

Trials were held at the Swimming Pool Complex at the Jinnah Sports Complex in Islamabad early last month to select the final team to participate in the South Asian Games, previously known as the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games in their first nine editions.

Trials were held in all individual events and the team was selected on the basis of the entry requirements laid out by the South Asian Swimming Fedeartion.

Two national records were bettered during the Islamabad trials. Ghulam Sakina of Sindh smashed the previous 800 metres freestyle time by 19.35 seconds with a new mark of 10:41.76. WAPDA’s Kiran Khan eclipsed the 50m backstroke record with a new time of 33.46 seconds.

The team officials accompanying the female swimmers to Colombo will be Veena Masud (manager), Faiza Tariq (national coach) and Lui Jiong (Chinese coach). The South Asian Games swimmimg events are due to be held from August 19 to 24.

Pakistan’s women swimmers took part in the SAF Games competition for the first and only time at the 9th event hosted by Pakistan and held in Islamabad two years ago. The 16-member team of female swimmers captured a total of 14 medals — seven silver and seven bronze.

India, of course, led the way running away with all 15 gold medals in addition to six silver. Kiran Khan alone bagged six silver and two bronze medals for Pakistan.

Her silver medals came in the 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke and the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays and the 4x100m medley relay. She took bronze in the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley events.

Mahira Karim took silver in 400m freestyle in addition to the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays. Sana Wahid was part of the silver medal-winning teams in the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays and the 4x100m medley relay. She also won bronze in 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

Rubab Raza, then just 13 years old, took silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x100 medley relay. Then she took bronze in the 100m backstroke event.

Ayesha Tajwar got a silver (4x200 freestyle relay) and two bronze (400m freestyle and 800m freestyle) while Mehrunnisa Khan bagged silver as part of the 4x100m medley relay quartet.

Kiran Khan, still only 16 years old, and Rubab Raza were the two Pakistani women swimmers who took part in the Commonwealth Games, held in Melbourne earlier this year.