It is only through sheer hard work and strong determination that success can be achieved. A 15-year-old Bastab Tapan Bordoloi from Assam’s Jorhat district made the nation proud by bagging five gold medals and a silver at the recently concluded South Asian Aquatic Championship (SAAC) in Sri-Lanka.
An aqua phobic since childhood, Bastab was encouraged by his parents to take up swimming. He started swimming at the age of nine and bagged his maiden medal (silver) in All Assam State Level Championship in 2012. He was the only swimmer from the northeast region who participated in six events at the championship.
“It was a tough competition because the swimmers from the SAARC nations were all very good and I tried to give my best so that I win. I competed in 6 events and won golds in 50m butterfly, 50m freestyle, 4×100 mix relay, 4×100 freestyle relay and 4×200 freestyle relay and silver medal in 100m butterfly,” Bastab told ANI.
The event brought together participants from six countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka – in Colombo.
“I started practicing in a pool under Jorhat swimming society and my coaches helped me in practicing. In indoors I broke a national record and now my ultimate goal is to represent India in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and also represent India in Asian games and bring laurels for the nation,” he added.
Before participating in the SAAC championship, Bastab underwent an extensive practice at the Talkatora stadium and India camp in New Delhi. Support from his parents made Bastab achieve his dream and represent India on an international platform.
“I was really excited the day when he achieved gold in the 50 meter freestyle. I could not express how happy I am as it feels really overwhelming that he made it to the international level as it is a big deal to compete and won in the international level. It is really tough competition but it gives me immense pride that he won medals for our country,” said Bastab’s father Tapan Bordoloi.
As part of appreciation for his achievement, Jorhat Aquatic Society along with the sports club awarded Bastab with a Phulon Gamosa, bouquets, citation and a cheque worth INR 50,000. This young boy now aims to compete more in international tournaments with a view to bring more laurels to the country.