Bangalore: Sixteen-year-old Rehan Poncha is one of those fascinating stories of grit and determination, he jumped into the swimming pool at the age of six on doctor's advice to treat a chronic cold. Ten years later, he became India's best male swimmer. And what's more the Hyderabad National Games saw him effortlessly lift this trophy for the best athlete of the year. "My dream is what every sportsman dreams offaÂ"to get the Olympics gold medal. But that is a little far fetched. So I am looking at the next few meets like the Afro Asian Games. I want to get into the top five at the tournament," says Rehan. "Though I am not expecting a medal at the 2004 Olympics, coming into the top eight would be an achievement as no Indian has done that before," he adds. Last year Rehan ranked among the top ten swimmers of his age worldwide, based on his timings in 400 metres individual medley and 200 meter butterfly stroke. While he is young and has a long way to go, Rehan needs international competitive level swimming in the run-up to the 2004 Olympics. "Lack of sponsorship is a problem because we have the scholarship, which will last us about four months. But we would be looking for sponsorship to stay on in Australia till the Olympics 2004 that would require a great deal of money," says the swimmer. In any other country there would have been a queue to sponsor a swimming star like him, but in our country there's still no one in sight.
Topics : Swimming