A lifer expat mummy in Kuwait blogging on things to do in Kuwait for kids and adults, places to visit, fun and cultural events, general info, shopping bargains and interesting stuff. Email: LWDLIK@gmail.com
Faye Sultan, one of my dear friends, posted on her facebook account that she was heading to this year’s Olympics 2012. (exciting!) If I am not mistaken, she will be (inshallah) the first Kuwaiti female to ever compete in the swimming competitions held at the Olympics!
I was of course so proud of her and I knew that I needed to interview her now before she would give me excuses like I have a interview with CNN HAH! Obviously, she was so kind enough to accept my offer even though she was traveling that same day (I love you faye HAH)
Overall, Faye is such a humble and kind friend and what I love about her is that her energy is super infectious!
Faye deserves this chance more than anything (if you knew her like I do you would be nodding right now HAH) I can feel the amount of effort she puts into swimming and how determined she is and honestly when I think swimming I think Faye Sultan (no joke; but thats maybe because she is my only friend that is a swimmer HAH)
Now enough of me talking about how amazing I think this girl is and I will let her do all the talking!
Take it away Faye!
My name is Faye Sultan, I’m 17 years old and come August I will be the first Kuwaiti female swimmer ever to participate in the Olympics! Pretty exciting stuff! ( isn’t she the cutest HAH)
A: How much does swimming mean to you?
F: When I train, I realize how lucky I am to have an opportunity that many men and particularly women in the Middle East do not have. Other than my passion for the sport, I train to highlight the important role than women play in Kuwaiti society and the opportunity to enhance that role for Middle Eastern society as whole.
A: How many years have you been swimming?
F: Well I started taking lessons when I was 9 which is pretty late, since your average swimmer starts around 4 or 5 years old. I gave up swimming for a while and tried dancing, and it’s only been the past 2 years that I’ve been training at a more rigorous level.
A: Why swimming out of all sports? What triggered you to join that sport out of all the other sports out there?
F: There are two primary reasons. Firstly, opportunities for women in sport in the Middle East are limited and swimming was one of the few options that was available to me and I love the water. And secondly, being almost 6 feet tall and with size 9 feet, dancing was not going to be a career vocation for me.
A: Who got you into swimming in the first place?
F: My dad! He put each kid in a different sport and he encouraged me to choose swimming over dance which is something I was passionate about at the time.
A: What is it like being a swimmer? ( socially, emotionally, pshyically)
F: I honestly consider swimming to be one of the hardest sports out there. You have to swim double sessions and sometimes some of those sessions start as early as 5 am. It definitely takes a toll on all 3 of the things you mentioned above. The greatest toll it takes is on your mentality. Swimming breaks you down emotionally, which is why it is important to have a team, a great coach, and support system to cushion that effect. It’s been a hard and laborious journey being a female swimmer in Kuwait. For 95 percent of my training, I was forced to swim in a kiddy pool where I couldn’t even finish a freestyle stroke properly because my hand would touch the bottom.
(FUNNY STORY BEHIND THIS PICTURE! She is doing swimming exercises on a plane ! HAH… I’m telling you she can’t stand a minute without thinking about swimming HAH)
A: How supportive are your family with you being a swimmer?
F: 100,000 % and more. (HAH)
A: Do you find it challenging being a Kuwaiti woman and participating in swimming?
F: Definitely! ( I can personally answer this question for her because there are barely any girls in the Middle East that compete in swimming…. But Faye still does it …AMAZING! TEAM FAYE HAH!)
A: What has been your most memorable moment during your swimmer journey?
F: Swimming at the Junior World Championships in Peru last summer. (That is definitely exciting)
A: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Will you continue swimming?
F: In 5 years, I can see myself going down one of 2 paths: finishing from the 2016 Olympics in Rio and retiring, or being focused entirely on getting into grad school. You can never really quit swimming, it sort of becomes a part of you. Even if I stop training, I’ll still be doing laps in the pool every now and then until I’m 80!
A: How does it feel being the first female swimmer representing Kuwait in the Olympics? What was your reaction? Did you see it coming?
F: It’s AMAZING to be able to compete in the Olympics. Unfortunately, the IOC suspended Kuwait from participating in the Olympics because our sports laws are not consistent with international standards. So if Kuwait isn’t re-instated by the time of the Olympics, then I’ll be swimming under the FINA flag, which will still be cool. I’ve always had the Olympics as a goal in mind, but I was definitely shocked when it was made a reality.
A: What do you wish to achieve at the Olympics?
F: My main goal is to challenge myself and to beat my own record. I also hope to impact how people think about women in the Middle East domestically and internationally. (this is my favorite answer)
A: Give a last message to the followers of alialmawash.com (word of advice)
F: Be the change you wish to see in the world. That was my senior quote too! Haha.
My advice to your followers would be to not let anyone stop you from fulfilling your dreams and goals in life and to try and defy stereotypes as much as possible.
LWDLIK - Thanks Ali Al Mawash...
Wishing Faye great success at the 2012 Olympics. We'll all be cheering for you. Do it for Kuwait and women. You go girl!