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Lone Lakshadweep swimmer at Khelo India Youth Games Anees trains in rough seas

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Panchkula, June 7 (Ajit Weekly News) The Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) is a bag of surprises, and Mohammed Anees — the lone swimmer in Lakshadweep’s tiny 13-member contingent — brings with him a ‘sea of surprises’.

Ever since he fell in love with the sport, Anees has been spending hours in the rough seas, practicing his art, hoping to become one of India’s top swimmers, mostly training by himself.

“The swimmers that we have all train in the Arabian Sea. It is pretty rough and you require great skill and courage to go out there every day,” Ahmed Jawan Hassan, the chef de mission of the Lakshadweep contingent here for the Khelo India Youth Games, said on Tuesday.

But that doesn’t deter the young Anees, who competes all by himself in the turbulent waters.

Anees is one of the many young athletes from Lakshadweep who aspire to one day turn out for India. But unlike most like them in the rest of the country, they have to train in makeshift facilities.

“We are small in every sense of the word, from our Island which consists of just 36 islands and covers 32 sq km, to our team here,” Ahmed Jawan said.

Their 13-member team includes 12 athletes, other than Anees. The six boys and girls practice on a small ground in Kavaratti.

“It is big enough to conduct a 200m event. But even that is more often than not slushy and uneven. Some of them end up playing football, which often becomes their only practice for days on end,” he revealed.

Recently, work has started on a 400m synthetic track. “Once it is completed, we could expect many more to join this group of boys and girls,” Hassan added.

For now, every time they need to compete in major events, like the Nationals or Khelo India Games, they travel to Ernakulum where a synthetic track is available.

“That is the best we can do. Yet, our athletes are winning medals. Mubassina Mohammed brought glory to the island by winning a gold in javelin and a bronze in long jump in the 32nd South Zone Under-14 athletic championship. Munsira Muneer captured gold while Nihala clinched silver in the same meet.”

–Ajit Weekly News

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