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Hard work pays off for London-born Bangladesh swimmer Zonayna

  • Published at 07:25 pm October 25th, 2017
  • Last updated at 09:50 pm October 27th, 2017
Hard work pays off for London-born Bangladesh swimmer Zonayna
Zonayna Ahmed stayed for only five days in Dhaka during her two-week visit in Bangladesh but the 14-year-old London-born Bangladesh swimmer became the talk of the town after bagging 10 gold medals in the national age-level swimming championship, which took place from Sunday to Tuesday. Having been born and brought up in London, Zonayna got all the modern facilities in order to become a swimmer, which can hardly be said about the young swimmers of Bangladesh outside the capital, who can only dream of such things. Zonayna’s family moved to the UK at the turn of the millennium. When many of the Bangladeshis learn swimming at their nearest pond or river before going to school, Zonayna took her first lesson at a local swimming pool at the age of six. Upon seeing her interest, her family admitted her to a local swimming club in Barking and Dagenham two years later to keep her in continuous training. Zonayna and her family used to visit their homeland once after every two-three years but this time around, they came here for a special purpose and landed in Sylhet on October 13. They had to stay in Sylhet and Sunamganj for a week before Zonayna and her father Jubayer Ahmed came to Dhaka on Friday and between this time, Jubayer took her eldest daughter to the Sylhet swimming club, which they found in improper condition, hardly suitable for proper training.

Also read: London-born Bangladeshi Zonayna takes Mirpur pool by storm

After arriving in the capital, Jubayer wasted no time in taking Zonayna to the Mirpur swimming complex where she trained for around four hours in two days. She traveled from Mohammadpur to Mirpur amid heavy rainfall every day before the tournament began Sunday. Representing Gopalganj Swimming Club, Zonayna won three gold medals on the opening day, five on the second day and two more on the final day. Her 10 gold medals out of 11 events included eight national records which were recorded through hand-timing. She was adjudged best female swimmer of the event. "I had been planning for this moment to come for the last seven-eight years. When we came to Bangladesh three years ago, we were talking about this and getting ready. I tried to manage her all the facilities available in order to become a swimmer," said Jubayer to Dhaka Tribune Wednesday. When asked about the differences he found out in the pools of Dhaka and London, he replied, "No big difference. The Mirpur pool is a proper venue and has all international facilities but there is one thing which should be mentioned.” He added, "There was no electronic timing in Mirpur. It is not 100% real-timing when it is recorded in hand. You see, in London, there are swimming clubs and pools in every area, lane and almost all of them have electronic timing. If Bangladesh girls get the facilities like London and get their timing done electronically, their performance will also improve a lot more. "I always wanted my children to be involved with sports. She learned swimming very fast and it became easier for me as to what I should do. My second daughter is only eight years old but is already showing big prospect in swimming, especially in the breaststroke event where she can beat her opponents who are 11 or 12 years of age.” Meanwhile, the three events out of 11 where Zonayna failed to make a record is the 100m breaststroke event. Zonayna and her family is likely to fly back to London within two-three days.
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