Special Report of Olympia
Interviewed by Purnananda Neog
✍️ Biswajit Barman
The environment of Assam, it’s air, water, people, Assamese food, her home, in fact She has preserved everything about Assam in her mind with utmost care. She misses each and every thing about Asaam.
Fariha Zaman, a name which was quite regular in the sports pages of the Assamese Newspapers eight to ten years ago. In that time, this daughter of Assam was able to make strong impact on both National and International level. Teenaged Fariha was attracting a lot of attention from the sports community through her dominant performance in various National Championships, international sporting events like SAF Games etc. Continuous success in one tournament after another has established Fariha as one of the talented swimmers of India. Teenaged Fariha had become a sensation in the swimming community of India.
Once who was a familiar name for the sports lovers of Assam, Where is she now? Why no news of Fariha is out there now? Did ‘Jalpari’ Fariha leave swimming? It is quite certain that questions like these are there in the minds of the sports enthusiasts of Assam. We, Olympiasports.in had an lively conversation with Fariha Zaman with a bag full of all such questions. Fariha let us know that She is now in Dubai, UAE.
What Fariha is doing in Dubai?
The present address of Fariha Zaman is Dubai. She is leading the swimming team of a Dubai based international organisation called ‘Gems Modern Academy’. In 2014 she left to Dubai from Assam. In the initial days, she was thinking about shifting to Squash from Swimming, but eventually she decided to cancel that decision. Once a star swimmer, Fariha is now busy with lots of kids and teenagers, teaching them how to build the bond between the swimmer and the water, creating many Fariha Zaman for the future. Simultaneously, she has been competing in the sporting events like the famous Club Tournaments of UAE.
We are well aware that UAE is also not free from the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily life activities are also affected there. As per the guidelines to stop the spread of this disease, Fariha is also keeping herself at home. In UAE too, some relaxations are being provided from the lockdown yet there is a strong possibility that sports and related activities will not resume till the end of June,2020. Fariha is providing online coaching to the trainees from her home, during this lockdown. She is also spending some quality time with her child and other members of her family.
‘Assam is always there in her heart‘
We asked Fariha, ‘Do you miss Assam?’ She replied, ‘I miss Assam a lot.” The environment of Assam, it’s air, water, people, Assamese food, her home, in fact She has preserved everything about Assam in her mind with utmost care. She misses each and every thing about Asaam. She feels like Assam is always with her. She has a special spot in her heart for the land of Assam.
Assam has tremendous potentiality in swimming but….
Lives in Dubai but yet Fariha keep herself updated with each and every news from the swimming circle of Assam. Fariha knows about the current level of standard of Assam swimming. She is also in touch with the new sensation of Assam swimming Shivangi Sharma.
“There is no lack of talent in Assam. Especially at the Junior level, quite a few potential swimmers can be seen. But the major issue is the inability to sustain that performance to the Senior Level. In our Indian mentality, as the children grow, they are being pressurized to put more focus in academic studies and less in sports, some are even forced to leave sport. These are the reasons for the less number of good athletes in the Senior Level.” Fariha said in the context of Assam swimming.
“Along with these, there is lack of availability of certain facts in the scientific and mental stage. We should understand the fact that the Junior Level is not the end. Equal importance should also be given to the Senior Level.” Fariha added.
While asked about Shivangi Sharma, Fariha told us that she is a talented swimmer. All she needs is right management. Amidst good performances, there will be days when the performance will not meet the required mark. In such times, she will need every available help, support and cooperation from all sides.
It is worthwhile to mention that the daughter of Guwahati, Queen of Backstroke Fariha’s first International competition was the Asian Age Group Championship in Thailand in the year 2005. After that she represented her country again in the World Championships held in China in 2006. In that same calendar year Fariha managed to earn enviable success by bagging Gold Medals in 50,100,200 metre Backstroke and in 4×100 meter Medley Relay in the SAF Games held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Along with that, she also made four new records. In the South Asian Swimming Championships (Open) held in Islamabad in 2008, Fariha grabbed three Gold Medals and made new records in 50,100 meter Backstroke and in 4×100 meter Medley Relay. In the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008, Asian Indoor Games in 2009, again in the SAF Games in 2010, in the Commonwealth Games in that same year, Fariha did participate and was able to bring pride to Assam. In her life of sports, Fariha won 9 Gold, 1 silver and 1 Bronze at the International Level and 60 Gold, 28 Silver and 16 Bronze Medals at the National Level. Similarly, at the State Level competitions, Fariha won 120 Gold, 56 Silver and 13 Bronze Medals.