I am going to Olympics at 14, all sacrifices were worth it: Bengaluru swimmer Dhinidhi Desinghu

The Bengaluru swimmer, who studies in Class 9, is set to be the youngest member of the Indian contingent at the Paris Olympics.
Last Updated : 04 July 2024, 06:50 IST

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Bengaluru: At times, she misses the carefree pleasures her peers enjoy and occasionally experiences a sense of solitude, but all of that has been worth it for 14-year-old swimmer Dhinidhi Desinghu, who is gearing up to fulfil her dream of competing at the Olympics later this month.

The Bengaluru swimmer, who studies in Class 9, is set to be the youngest member of the Indian contingent at the Paris Olympics.

"Sometimes I miss the fun generally kids of my age have. I do not go out much with friends and feel lonely. But then I wanted to swim and I wanted to go to the Olympics," Dhinidhi told PTI Bhasha in an exclusive interview at her residence.

"I am the one who chose this path for me. With that comes a lot of sacrifices but I do feel different, extraordinary and proud. At 14, I am going to the Olympics, so all the sacrifices are worth it," she added.

The Olympic cycle has been an underwhelming one for Indian swimming as none of the swimmers were able to breach either the 'A' or 'B' qualification time. But Dhinidhi has been on a roll, winning medals at the National Games and the senior National championships last year.

Her performances this season made her the top-ranked Indian female swimmer with the Swimming Federation of India handing her one of the two Universality places and an opportunity of a lifetime.

"I knew that I had a chance (of making the Olympics) because I have been working really very hard but it was surprising that I got this chance so early in my career. Being the youngest one in the Indian contingent is a big honour."

"I am super excited to be a part of the Indian Olympic contingent as I will get a chance to meet the greatest athletes," said Dhinidhi, who will compete in the women's 200m freestyle event.

Having got the opportunity to compete at the Olympics at such a young age, Dhinidhi wants to soak in everything and gain experience.

"This is just the beginning and I have a long long way to go. I am really excited to know what more I can do in 2028 and 2032.

"I want to experience the feeling of staying at the Olympic village. What kind of races are being held there as the competition in India is totally different from what we get at international level. I want to see the dedication, the focus and the preparation of world class athletes.

"I am not thinking about performance as it is just about learning this time. I am sure whatever learnings I have here, that will make me a better athlete."

She is excited to meet her idol -- seven-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer Katie Ledecky.

"I made a greeting card last year for her. I used to think that whenever I get a chance to meet her, I will give this to her. I looked up at her from a very young age and luckily, I got this chance. Hopefully I can give it to her in Paris. I will be on the seventh moon if I get a chance to even see her," she said.

Published 04 July 2024, 06:50 IST

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