Defending champion Remmelg returns to the pool after year out


Estonia’s defending International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport (IWAS) Youth World Games champion Anette Remmelg is gearing up to return to the pool after a year away.  

Estonia’s defending International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport (IWAS) Youth World Games champion Anette Remmelg is gearing up to return to the pool after a year away.

Remmelg, who is the 400m freestyle gold medallist from the 2016 youth Games in Prague, Czech Republic, will compete at the 2018 edition in Athlone, Ireland, from 2-5 July.

The 17-year-old has just returned from 12 months in Mexico.

“Now when I was away on exchange year, it has been challenging for me to get back on track, so for this year’s IWAS Youth World Games my aim would be to give the best of myself,” Remmelg said. “My aim is always been to swim my personal records and be satisfied with my result.”

The Estonian competed at her first international competition at the tender age of 10. Since then she has gone on to compete in three consecutive Youth World Games and collect multiple medals. These include gold in the 50m backstroke and 200m freestyle on her debut in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, in 2014.

Remmelg also made an impact two years ago in Prague, not only winning the 400m freestyle but also claiming bronze in the 50m free. Despite success in the sprint distance, the S10 swimmer still prefers the longer haul.

“My favourite event is definitely 400m freestyle. I am not that good at giving everything swimming short distances. Maybe I love 400m because it is something so challenging and at the same time good? Because after this heat you really feel how dead you are, both emotionally and physically,” she said.

Remmelg was five-years-old when she started swimming. Doctors told her it would help with her back. However unlike a lot of athletes, it took her a while to fall in love with the sport.

“I remember that every Saturday morning at 9 o’clock I was forced to go swimming. I didn’t like it at all, it was too early and the water was really cold. But year by year I got better and better and I started to like swimming. It took me a good four years to really getting to love swimming.”

Now training six times a week taking in five days of swimming and two in between the pool and the gym, Remmelg is looking forward to another edition of the IWAS Youth World Games.

“I think IWAS Youth World Games are amazing because of the loving atmosphere – at these competitions the referees and volunteers are always so kind and helpful. Also I love to meet new people and get inspiration from them. 

“I would say to a person who is thinking of taking up a sport that there will be ups and downs, maybe one year you don’t see any progress and you may start thinking of quitting, but you know that every athlete has experienced a rebuff, but they got back to their feet. There wouldn’t be any amazing sportspeople if everybody would have given up on their first failure. You have to find the reason why you truly love this sport and remember it yourself every time you feel a bit down or without motivation. Also when you finally achieve what you have been working for a long time, these good emotions and the happiness afterwards is indescribably marvellous.” 

The 2018 IWAS World Youth Games will feature 165 athletes from 16 countries competing in athletics, swimming and table tennis between 2-5 July.