Today Farida Osman won fifth place in women’s butterfly 50m world champion held in Kazan Russia. Not many Egyptians can claim to be international record holders and have a full Wikipedia page dedicated to themselves, let alone by the young age of 20. Farida Osman not only has achieved this, but she competed at the 2012 London Olympics when she was only 17. Farida’s records and accomplishments as a professional swimmer have become an inspiration for all young girls. She has competed in several national and international competitions. We interviewed her to see how she reached this level of professionalism, how she manages her time, and what her goals are. We must admit, she has become an inspiration to us as well!
- Tell us how you got started in this sport?
My mom brought me to Gezira Sporting Club just to learn how to swim and after a while I joined the club swim team and started to compete nationally at the age of 11 and internationally at the age of 12, at the African games in Algeria.
- Out of all sports, why swimming? And did you ever have a change of heart and wanted to try another sport?
Swimming attracted me because I love the competition. I tried synchronized swimming for a while but did not like it as much as swimming as it was not as exciting
- Almost all parents let their kids go for swimming trainings when they’re young, but almost no one is nearly as good as you are in this sport. What makes you unique?
I feel that my competitive drive allowed me to continue and excel. I think I am determined, committed, and eager for success.
- Most parents think the club their kids train at is what makes the difference, others say the trainer. What’s your opinion about that?
I personally think it is a combination of club, trainer, and swimmer. All three have to work together for achievement. The support is needed from both. Regarding the club, it must have a competitive swimming program and team. The administration should be supportive and encouraging young athletes to pursue their goals in sports. Regarding trainer, I think that being psychologically comfortable with him will help a lot, in order to perform well.
- How do you manage your time with all the trainings, education, and your personal life?
It is hard but I try to balance and manage my time. There are sacrifices that need to be made. I really think it depends on your priorities
- Other than competing and swimming, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy going out with my friends and watching movies. I also love shopping
- Was it hard competing and training here in Egypt? And is it better in the states or here?
It was hard training in Egypt because I used to practice alone without teammates so it kind of got boring. Unfortunately, in Egypt, there was no coordination between my swimming and school. While in the states, everything is on campus which makes everything so much easier (no commute) and I am a part of a big team which makes it more exciting. Also, the education system integrates the sport as I am admitted as a student athlete.
- If you could give advice to young girls who aspire to be like you and their parents, what would you say?
My biggest advice is: If you put your mind into it you can achieve your goals. I think believing in yourself and being ready to make sacrifices is very important. And finally, work hard because nothing comes easy
- Now if you could give any advice to parents who don’t think sports are important for their children, what would you tell them?
I think sports are important as they build one’s character and allow you to be independent and self-disciplined, which will help you later on in life
- Are we going to see you at the 2016 Olympics at Rio?
Yes, inshallah. I already qualified.
- What are your plans for your future and what’s your life long dream?
My dream is to hopefully get an Olympic medal and be a role model to young, Arab female athletes.