Ten year old makes a splash at world championships

Fri Aug 7, 2015 7:42am EDT
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By Rod Gilmour

KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) – - Alzain Tareq won't be winning any medals at the world swimming championships but the pint-sized Bahraini did set an unlikely new record on Friday.

Just 10-years-old, Tareq became the youngest ever competitor to race at the world championships when she competed in the heats of the women's 50-metre butterfly.

Hopelessly out of her depth, she finished a distant last among the 64 competitors, reaching the end of the pool in a time of 41.13 seconds, almost 16 seconds behind the leading qualifiers.

"I am so happy to be here,” she told reporters. “I want to be able to learn the techniques and how they swim."

Although Tareq didn't come anywhere near the minimum qualifying times to compete at the world championships, she was allowed to compete because of a rule allowing each nation to have some limited representation.

“I am the fastest swimmer in Bahrain, and so they chose me," she said.

FINA does not currently have any minimum age limits for competitors but sources said that was likely to be reviewed in the future.

Tareq's participation in the sport's most prestigious global championship drew a mixed response.   Continued...

Ten year-old Alzain Tareq of Bahrain swims in a women's 50 m butterfly heat at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 7, 2015.   REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth