Dili, Timor Leste, July 6, 2021: Most athletes will have had to endure hardships and shown tremendous courage and bravery to qualify for the Olympic Games.
But few, if any, will have experienced what Timor Leste swimmer Edha Belo has been through in her preparations for Tokyo 2020 – such as training in the presence of salt-water crocodiles.
The Secretary General of Timor Leste National Olympic Committee, Laurentino Guterres, explains: “Timor Leste has suffered more than one covid outbreak, and Edha has not been able to access a pool for some time - until now!
“Undaunted, she did dry land training and trained in the sea – and, yes, there are crocodiles but we understand they vary at different times of the year. With the most recent lockdown and then the horrendous rain and flooding, even that had to stop.”
Laurentino adds that Edha, 22, has always enjoyed playing in the water, but she did not learn to swim until she was 16.
“Hers has to be one of the bravest, most determined stories of journeys to the Olympics. Go Edha! It is wonderful, too, that she has the support of the Swimming Federation of Timor Leste.”
Edha Belo and Jose Joao will take part in the swimming competition at Tokyo 2020 and Laurentino described them as “amazing role models for Timor Leste youth and truly worthy of representing Timor Leste”.
Timor Leste will be represented by two swimmers and one athlete in Tokyo. The team will have a one-week training camp in Ina City, Nagano prefecture.