Garima Rana was a household name when she topped the SLC Board Exams in 1995. Daughter of senior advocate Lok Bhakta Rana and Kabita, Garima Rana moved to London with her husband Paras Singh and chose to raise children instead of pursuing a lucrative career. And the dedication and sacrifice paid off when her daughter, Gaurika Singh stole the limelight in the 13th South Asian Games.
She has turned to a Swimmer Mom and is having the best time of her life. “I am very proud of her as she was able to fulfil her long-time dreams of winning gold medal in the SA Games,” said Garima Rana of her daughter. “With the achievement, she is feeling a kind of relieved.
And I am very much happy for her.” Rana said Gaurika’s involvement in swimming was not a planned one. “We were here during summer vacation and had not planned anything. We heard about the championship and we just gave a try. She won medals and rest is history,” said Rana.
Asked about her daughter’s record-equalling performance in the SA Games, Rana said she was impressed with Deepak Bista’s words.
“He had once told me that athletes do not play for records and it happens when they give their best.
Gaurika also did not know about the record and we all were ecstatic when she did that,” said Rana, who thinks the second gold medal was the most special one. “Gaurika had lost to Indian swimmer (Manna Rajiv Patel) in Guwahati three years ago by six-seven seconds and this time around she avenged the defeat and claimed gold by a margin of three seconds. It’s more special as we had not expected that gold,” she added.
Rana denied that she had to sacrifice her career to produce a champion swimmer. “I don’t think I gave up my career for the children.
I felt like spending my time with the kids which is obvious for any parents. The only difference is that I had to do a little bit extra for them as Gaurika needs to manage time properly,” she said. “I keep on trying hard to give that extra minute to Gaurika as she gets very little time in between studies and swimming.
I take her to swimming at 5 AM in the morning and she does not even get enough time for breakfast before going to college.
After college, I take her to training again and then back to home,” said Rana. “Candy Crush is my favourite time pass while waiting for her in vehicle.”
Rana thinks winning medals for the country was an opportunity.
“She goes through a lot of hard times and needs to manage so many things without having her favourite stuffs. If we see the bigger picture, winning medals for the nation is an opportunity in itself,” said Rana. “Everyone has started talking about Olympics but we need to understand that it is way above our standard. Gaurika is a part time swimmer and full time student. Olympics is a different level and we are not even close to that standard yet. We do not rule out possibilities but everyone should understand that we cannot win there tomorrow. What we can do is just keep trying and we will do that,” she added. “We do not want to put any extra pressure on her and we also want her to put in her best efforts every time she plays.”
A version of this article appears in print on December 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.