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Rihan's journey: From track to pool to long distance swimming

Malika Shahid
07 March 2023, MVT 09:20
Rihan, who won the long distance championship -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa
Malika Shahid
07 March 2023, MVT 09:20

Last Saturday, Mohamed Rihan Shiham, won the men's section of the national long distance swimming championship held at Kudagiri Picnic Island. However, it would not be wrong to say that he only learned how to swim, because he had to.

One of the admission requirements to enlist as a cadet is to be able to swim. To fulfil his dream of joining the cadets, he joined the Life Guard Association, a club specialising in swimming.

"I went because I had to learn how to swim to get into cadet. I didn't think about pursuing it as a sport," he said.

According to Rihan's mother, Rumeshia, he thought of getting proper swimming training after he achieved his goal of joining the swimming club. With the help of the Lifeguard Club coaches, he saw the progress he was making and fell in love with the sport.

Rihan -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa

Rihan began to build his career as a professional athlete by competing in inter-school swimming competitions and winning accolades for Iskandhar School.

"When the tournaments near, I change Rihan's diet to avoid fatty foods," Rumeshia said. She also said that Rihan’s studies have improved with his swimming training.

This year is an important one for the long-distance swimmer. Rihan will be sitting for the O-Level examination in May and June with high hopes of achieving success in his studies.

Rihan -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa

According to his mother, Rihan places equal importance on his studies and swimming and has created a good balance between both during this crucial year.

"His focus and time management have improved. When he started actively competing in sports, we noticed very good changes in Rihan," Rumeshia said.

"The attention given by the management of Iskandhar School to Rihan's swimming activity is also a big factor in his success. I would like to mention the names of two leading teachers, Muzah Sir and Asima Miss," she mentioned.

Rihan is currently in Bangkok to represent the Maldives National Swimming Club in a tournament in Thailand. His mother said Rihan is able to take advantage of international opportunities with the support of the school.

Rihan -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa

A disheartening fact is that some children actively drift away from national sports activities after school. These talented children give up sports for opportunities in higher education and employment.

Rihan, who is planning to pursue engineering, said he has no intention of giving up his sports career.

"I haven't finalised any specific career yet. But I will be actively involved in swimming," said Rihan, who currently tops the national rankings.

"I have targets. The biggest focus now is to qualify for next year's Olympics."

Rihan will be competing for the national team and other international tournaments. He has hopes of winning a medal in an international swimming competition.

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