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Arati Saha’s 80th birth anniversary honoured by Google

Rida Shaikh

Arati Saha, an Indian swimmer was honoured by Google on Thursday.

Indian swimmer, Arati Saha was honoured by Google with a doodle. Arati Saha was the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel on her 80th birth anniversary.

Arati Saha registered her name as the first woman from Asia to cross The English Channel. She covered a distance of 67.5 kilometres in 16 hours 20 minutes. On reaching the English side of the channel, she hoisted the Indian flag.

She went through extensive training which over a period of 6 years for this achievement. Once, she swam for eight hours during a practice session.

In July 1959, she went to England to take the plunge. The first attempt at crossing the channel was unsuccessful due to the unfavourable weather conditions. Due to this, she had to turn back five miles from the English coast.

After two months, in September, she made another courageous attempt. This time she made it to the other side, covering a distance of 42 miles in 16 hours 20 minutes. Reaching the other side, she hoisted the Indian flag. It was an incredibly proud moment for India as well as the Indian sports.

After that, she became the first woman in India to be felicitated with the Padma Shri.

She started swimming at the early age of 4 in the Hooghly river in her birth city, Kolkata. After some time, she excelled at the sport so well that her father enrolled her for in a swimming club.

She broke the national women's record in the 100 metres freestyle category when she was 10 years old. In the year 1951, she broke her fellow swimmer- Dolly Nazir's, all-India record.

She passed away on August 4, 1994. She left behind a tremendously inspiring legacy as a pioneering sportsperson.

 

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