07 September 2021

An Olympic Swimmer From a Country With One Swimming Pool

It didn't occur to me how significant it was for a swimmer from Bhutan to go to Olympic 2020 until I received an email from a Dutch journalist, Fabian van der Poll. He worked with a Dutch daily newspaper, NRC. He had found my contact through an article I wrote in 2013 about swimming pools in Bhutan.

While researching on a debut swimmer, Sangay Tenzin from Bhutan, Fabian stumbled upon my blog post that read Bhutan had only one swimming pool in the whole of the country until recently. It intrigued him to do a story on the 17-year-old. It's a goldmine sort of discovery for a journalist to learn that a boy who learned to swim in the river has made it to the Olympics.

Sangay Tenzin, 17 (PC: Bhutan Today Page)

We either took it for granted or were ignorant but Sangay Tenzin's journey to Tokyo deserved more attention. From the river in Gelephu to a school swimming pool in Ugyen Academy, Sangay's destiny kept swimming despite all the limitations. It's through the various news sources that we learned how he had to train in Bangkok for the last two years because we don't have the kind of pool for him to train in Bhutan. 

Sangay is 17 and has at least two more Olympics to look forward to. He will swim far in life. But more than his own career, he has paved way for generations of youths to follow him, much like Chencho Gyeltshen did with football. 

Because of him, Olympic size swimming pools will be built in Bhutan. He has drawn the attention of the people in the most magnificent way. He didn't demand anything, he just worked his way to the Olympics 2020. He caused the splash to talk for him. He created the future he wanted. 


  1. It brought tears reading it. I wish you would write a more detailed story about him.

    Big salute to him.

  2. Wonderful observation sir...and excellent write up.

  3. A most rewarding pursuit that resulted in a praiseworthy achievement. Congratulations!

  4. My daughter reads your blog-book again and again (she took the copy to school today too). I hope you have sequel to it. Prayers to you Charo and you keep igniting other's minds and write on topics out-of-box just as this....

  5. Olympic swimmers like Simone Manuel come from countries with few swimming pools, like she does. She learned to swim at an international school without any nearby pools, but her dad got her into swimming lessons after she graduated from high school. Swimming might be one of the most popular summer activities, but does swimming cause bloating? I have an Olympic Swimmer From a Country With One Swimming Pool who tells all about how swimming actually affects bloating.

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