Tiara Shahril Anwar (L) with Christian Nikles. Picture: BT file
NATIONAL swimmer Tiara Shahril Anwar has officially withdrawn from the Olympic Scholarship awarded by the International Olympic Council (IOC) through the Olympic Solidarity Programme to her last November.
Tiara, who holds national records in 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle swimming events, arrived at the decision after she found it difficult to balance her academic and sporting commitments. Tiara is currently studying at the University of Florida, Gaineville, USA.
“The environment here to study is much more competitive when I compared it to back home,” said Tiara in her official withdrawal letter sent to the Brunei Amateur Swimming Association (BASA) and Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Committee (BDNOC). “I was training as often as I could, but was unable to attend the training sessions in spring because the overwhelming classes and clash of schedules.
“My grades from last semester has made me realise that I cannot balance both commitments. “The volume and intensity of the American Education System have taken me by surprise and I’m still trying to adjust. “It is only fair that the nomination to compete in the Olympics should go to another athlete who is fully trained and ready. I do appreciate of being given the opportunity to receive the Olympic Scholarship as well as the nomination to compete in Rio Olympics 2016,” she added.
BASA President Aziz Latip said that the association understood Tiara’s reason for her withdrawal and hoped that national swimmer and FINA Scholarships Programme recipient Christian Nikles to be nominated in place of Tiara. “We understood Tiara’s withdrawal as it is very difficult for her to cope with her university commitments there,” said Aziz in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
“We wish her the best of luck in the future. “For now, we hope we can see Nikles’ chance to be nominated. “FINA have confirmed that his eligibility to compete in Rio 2016 under the Universality Places, so we hope his nomination will be greatly considered.
“Both of them are fantastic swimmers, and I know they can make the country proud,” he added. Nikles is currently studying at Millfield College in the United Kingdom, holds the national swimming records in 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m and 200m backstroke, 50m and 100m butterfly, and 200m and 400m individual medley events.
National sprinters Md Fakhri Ismail and Maizurah Abdul Rahim were the two other recipients of the scholarship where the athletes receive US$1,000 each month to help with their training until July, a month before start of Rio Olympics.
This is only the second time Bruneian athletes have been awarded Olympic Games scholarships. The first was awarded to national swimmer Anderson Lim Chee Wei and 400m specialist Maziah Mahusin – who became Brunei’s first female Olympian in the 2012 London Olympics.