Dubai: Hot on the heels of victory at the Fina Masters Swimming World Championships, University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) student Sarra Lajnef is celebrating a triumphant return to UAE swimming with a gold and two silver medals at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Splash Swim Meet.
Competing against more than 250 of the UAE’s best swimmers from universities and swimming clubs across the country, Lajnef scooped first place in the women’s 50 metres freestyle and second place in both the 1,500 metres freestyle mixed gender open and the women’s 800 metres freestyle open.
The 26-year-old Tunisian is hoping to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics, balancing a strict training schedule with studying for a Masters of International Business degree at UOWD. She is also hoping to become the first Arab female athlete to be both an Olympic swimmer and an Olympic triathlete, and has her eyes firmly set on competing in the triathlon at Tokyo 2020.
“The Saadiyat Splash Swim Meet wasn’t the easiest of events for me,” said the first Tunisian female swimmer ever to qualify for the Olympics, which she achieved at London 2012.
“There wasn’t an option to swim my preferred events within my age category, and the 1,500 event and 800 event were less than two hours apart, which was tough. But I’m still happy with my results and I now have a base for my training. It has inspired me to work harder to keep progressing.”
A recipient of UOWD’s Adam Gilchrist Sports Award, which entitles the recipient to a 50 per cent tuition fee grant, Lajnef’s next event will be the 2XU 5 Star Aquathlon on October 23.