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Sofia Off to 3rd World Championships

16 June 2017

 F-Teamer Sofia Gadegarrd Shah will compete at the 2017 FINA World Championships

When you have limited access to the only competition-sized pool in your country, it's a remarkable achievement to have qualified for not one but three World Championship teams. For F-Teamer Sofia Gadegaard Shah from Nepal, the lack of training facilities is an obstacle she has had to overcome in order to push toward her dream of competing at the Olympics.

To prepare for competitions, Nepalese swimmers either train in small hotel pools or travel aboard in search of training facilities. A scholarship from FINA and Olympic Solidarity in 2015 enabled 19-year-old Sofia to travel to regions around Nepal to train. After that, she had the opportunity to travel to Virginia in the United States to study Kinesiology with Pre-Med at the College of William & Mary.

Sofia first competed at the 2013 World Championships and this year's competition will see her having represented Nepal at 11 international meets since 2013. Given the obstacles she has faced to pursue her swimming, being selected for the team travelling Budapest was a big achievement.

"Qualifying for my third World Championships is something I never even dreamed of achieving. It was an honour for me to represent Nepal in 2013 and my first World Championships and to see my swim career get this far means that all my hard work has paid off," Sofia says.

 F-Teamer Sofia Gadegarrd Shah will compete at the 2017 FINA World Championships

Selection for the team came after the 2018 Nepal Open Championships which were held on 1-2 May. Sofia left nothing in the tank, scooping up a medal in every event she raced. She won gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley. She also won bronze in the 50m backstroke and 100m breaststroke. Not a bad haul!

Sofia is ecstatic to be back racing on the world stage after narrowly missing out on the 2016 Olympics, but she?s also looking forward to the social aspect of the big meet.

"The awesome part about the World Championships is that you make a lot of friends from all over the world and for about two weeks everyone comes together for the love of swimming and it's an indescribable atmosphere."

 F-Teamer Sofia Gadegarrd Shah will compete at the 2017 FINA World Championships

In the lead-up to the competition, Sofia has been training at Thanyapura in Phuket, Thailand - a very popular training facility for athletes from all over the world. She will soon wrap-up her program there and head back to Nepal for the final leg of her preparation.

Sofia will be racing in both the 50m and 100m freestyle in Budapest so make sure you keep an eye out for this Funkita star!

Good luck to our Funkita F-Teamers! To keep up to date with our F-Teamers, follow us on our social media pages below:

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