Sebastian Xavier

Sebastian Xavier loved traveling. He took up swimming so he could travel with school friends to competitions.

As a young boy he used to swim in the backwaters of Kerala in South India. This early practice in swimming laid a solid foundation on which his professional career was built. His father and coach spotted his talent and encouraged him to continue in swimming. Sebastian broke into the national scene in 1991, when he set 4 national records. Sebastian recalls, "I was ecstatic and indescribably happy." Having been taught to look beyond the present, Sebastian set his eyes on the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima. Twice a day he swam fifteen kilometers in preparation for the games. Sebastian willingly invested his time in hope of reaching his goal.

On the day of the trials, Sebastian exploded into a flurry of strokes. His mind and body worked in perfect harmony. His goal was the finish line. Everyone assumed that he would qualify. Though he made a new personal record, he was still .02 seconds short of the prescribed qualifying time for the 50 metre free style. The next day's newspapers announced the team going to Hiroshima. His name was not on it. Recalling the event, Sebastian says, "I broke down and cried." He was not able to achieve what everyone hoped and expected him. He further says, "In this time of crisis, I could not turn to any of my close friends because they were in pain and shock. So I turned to Jesus. My faith in Jesus, my Savior and Lord, helped me to see the opportunities beyond my disappointment." Hiroshima is behind him. Sebastian, today says, "I kept on striving until the next meet."

His positive and progressive approach was rewarded when he won six gold medals and two silver medals in the 1995 South Asian Federation Games. Looking back at this success, he is quick to give all glory to Jesus; "Jesus is the secret of my success. I am never ashamed of making this confession."

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