Ghana's swimming sensation, Zaira Forson, put up a strong performance to win a silver medal in the Open Water Championship held at the Aqua Safari Resort at Ada last Sunday to climax the seventh Africa Zone Two Swimming and Open Water Championships in Accra.
The March 5-8 competition served as qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Zaira recorded a time of 1:43.04 hours in the women’s 5km Open Water event, finishing in second position behind Senegal’s Diagne Sophia Catherine who swam in a record time of 1:39.07 hours to win the gold medal.
It was an improved performance by 15-year-old Zaira, who sliced 10 minutes off her previous mark that won her gold over the same distance at the 2018 Africa Zone Two Swimming and Open Water Championships in Dakar, Senegal.
Last Sunday’s feat took her tally to 13 medals overall, comprising eight individual medals (including the Women’s 400 metres Individual Medley, 200m Backstroke, 400m Freestyle) and five team medals during the three-day competition at the Bukom International Pool in Accra and the Aqua Safari Resort.
After her impressive performance, she said the championship had exposed her weakness, which she would work on , as well as build on her strengths to become a superstar and a future Olympic swimmer.
"I appreciate this championship because it has exposed me to know where I fell short. I am going to train intensively to improve on my time where the world will see me as a super star because I have a lot to offer."
"I will not be complacent after this championship because the championship was a learning room to test my capabilities. I am still young and the best thing to push Ghana swimming is through training,” Zaira told the media.
Ghana grabbed 29 medals after the championships but failed to secure a qualification spot for the Tokyo Olympics as none of the athletes entered for the competition made the Olympic qualification time though the team grabbed 29 medals after the championship.
Nonethelesss, the Ghana Swimming Association President, Mr Theophilus Wilson Edzie, is looking forward to next month’s National Swimming Championship in Durban, South Africa, where some of the Ghanaian swimmers will attempt to make the qualification time for the Olympics.