PakPassion is proud to present an exclusive interview with Pakistan’s Olympic swimmer and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz winner, Kiran Khan who is also one of the first international female swimmers for Pakistan, where she holds national records.
By Farid Khan
PakPassion.net: Hello, Kiran! Hope you are doing fine. Heartfelt congratulations on your success at the National Games. Kiran Khan: Thank you very much. I’m good. National Games are the toughest and the most amazing challenge one has to go through to be recognized as an athlete.
PakPassion.net: Given the lack of swimming facilities in Pakistan, how easy is it for anyone to get into swimming as a profession? Kiran Khan: Swimming is an easy sport to adopt as profession for a short period of time, but to perform at national level or international level requires loads of time and financial support.
Facilities in Pakistan is an entirely different story.
PakPassion.net: How did it feel representing Pakistan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics? Kiran Khan:The Beijing Olympics was not confirmed at first due to the politics, but finally I got my name in.
It was a dream come true. I waited patiently for 8 years to be recognized as an Olympic swimmer. On top of that, representing my country was a very proud moment in that arena.
PakPassion.net: Swimming for ladies is something looked down upon - how did you overcome this opposition? Kiran Khan: Men and women are now treated equally.
Women are better, though. Women fight for the titles. I have never had to go through any such opposition.
PakPassion.net: What recent initiatives has the government taken to make this a popular sport? Kiran Khan: Nothing, and seriously because they can't swim, so swimming is not in the list of getting any initiatives thus far.
PakPassion.net: On average, how many hours of training do you do in a week? Kiran Khan: I don’t train like crazy. My training is more technical and less swimming, more power workout outside water. I train four sessions of swimming and dry land training.
PakPassion.net: Is the popularity of swimming beginning to grow in Pakistan after your success? Kiran Khan: Yes it has, but it has sort of taken a negative side in the heads of the swimmers. Everybody wants to defeat me, so they are working hard to be like me.
It’s an achievement for me, but it’s good as it keeps them going and keeps them on the track of competing.
PakPassion.net: Who has supported you the most in your quest to become an Olympic swimmer? Kiran Khan: My parents are the ones who made a swimmer and a successful one.
From training to financial support, it all comes from my family. My dad, himself, is a Pakistan national champion and World Master gold medalist, hence swimming is in my blood. My brother is also a swimmer, so my father wanted me to be a sportswoman.
It’s his dream I’m living.
PakPassion.net: Why did Anam Banday receive preference over you at the 2012 London Olympics? Kiran Khan: You just need to be someone's cousin to get into the Pakistan team and sheer politics.
Pakistan has learnt the lesson with her, I guess.
PakPassion.net: How honoured did you feel when you were awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz? Kiran Khan: The Tamgh-e-Imtiaz is the biggest civil award and I am the youngest athlete to receive it.
It made me feel that yes, I have done something for my country and my job is done.
PakPassion.net: As your sister is also a swimmer and is doing very well for NAVY in the ongoing National Games, what is your advice to her and to any other upcoming swimmers? Kiran Khan: Stay positive towards what you do.
Keep your head clear towards your goals. Try, try again and you will have your time of success. Never give up on any defeat.
PakPassion.net: What was your aim at the time when you took up swimming as your profession? Has it been fulfilled? Kiran Khan: My aim is to keep on swimming and swimming.
I just can’t live without competing.
PakPassion.net: Do you plan to coach swimming after your retirement and lure people in Pakistan towards it? Kiran Khan: I don’t have the patience to coach. It’s not me at all.
I’m not retiring any time soon, so I can’t say much regarding it.
PakPassion.net: Who is your all-time favourite swimmer? Kiran Khan: Sarah Price is my all-time favourite swimmer. She was a back-stroker and I’m a back-stroker as well.
PakPassion.net: Thanks a ton for your precious time. Kiran Khan: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.