Meet Annie Jain, the 16-year-old swimmer from Indore who is making waves in the national circuit
In an exclusive chat, Annie opened up about balancing swimming and education, her parents' support and her future goals.
This Women’s Day, several young female athletes from across the country were felicitated by Star Sports on their achievements at the recently concluded Khelo India School Games. Among them was, Annie Jain who is making waves in the national swimming circuit for some time now.
Annie won as many as six medals at the Khelo India Games to add to her already envious collection. The Indore-born girl has won numerous medals in the junior age categories in the national meets. She has also won a silver and a bronze medal in the senior nationals.
Speaking about the felicitation, the young swimmer said, "I'm really grateful to Star Sport for felicitating me today. I feel very happy and I feel very thankful as well."
It was back in 2010 when Annie started swimming. She was only 8 years of age at that time when her father introduced her to the sport. "I was only eight years old at that time. My father used to take me to the swimming pool. He was the one who inspired, who really got me into the sport."
As a child, Annie was not only interested in swimming. She used to skate and she was really good at it. "Besides swimming, I was also interested in skating when I was younger. In fact, I was a national-level skater. However, I think I had more passion for swimming and so, I chose swimming. Also, I think I was inclined because swimming is the more recognised sport," the 16-year-old revealed.
She conceded that without the support of her parents, she might not have been where she is right now. She said, "My parents have been very supportive right from the start. They have had to put their normal lives in the back seat several times to be with me. Once, I had to go abroad for a competition for a duration of one month and my mother left her job to come along. I don't think it would have been possible for me to be at this stage without their support"
Annie is already one of India's most promising swimmers and dedication is a big reason behind this. Every day, she trains for almost six hours a day. In the morning, she wakes up at 5 for early morning training. Then, she has to go school and after school, again, she goes back to the pool and trains for a couple of hours.
"Sometimes it gets really hard to balance both but my school has supported me throughout. Even when I miss my classes, my teachers give me extra classes to cover up everything," the youngster explained how she is able to balance such a hectic schedule.
At the recently concluded Khelo India School Games 2018, she emerged as the only female sports star who bagged 6 medals which included, four golds in the 100m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 100m freestyle relay and 100m medley relay. She also won a silver in the 200m freestyle and a bronze in the 50m freestyle.
When asked about what she thought of the Khelo India School Games, Annie said, "The Khelo India Games was a huge opportunity for all the young athletes in the country. It provided a platform for us, one like never before. After participating in an event of this scale, I think we are now more confident of going to big tournaments in the future."
Her next goal is to qualify for this year's Youth Olympics which will be held in Buenos Aires in October but she has bigger dreams. "This year, my immediate goal is to qualify for the Youth Olympics. The next big goal, though, is going for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics," she signed off.