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Indian teens attempt to cross the English Channel
September 05, 2007 18:19 IST
After a month-long training stint with Guinness record holder Arti Pradhan, two Indian teenagers will attempt to cross the English Channel tomorrow.
Sixteen-year-old Shruti Maheshdutta Limaye and 17-year-old Smruti Muralidhar Prabhu will be starting from Dover early on Thursday morning. The two are part of a four-member team, which has been training for the endeavour in England [Images] since the first week of August.
Two others -- 21-year-old Darshan Anil Deshpande and 18-year-old Mitali Shekhar Varadkar -- will attempt to cross the stretch after Shruti and Smruti.
The four have already crossed the 35-km stretch from Dharamtar to Gateway of India last year. But the attempt to cross the English Channel is their biggest mission so far.
They are being trained by Pradhan, one of the youngest women to cross the English Channel. This Arjuna awardee later went on to get a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest woman to cross the shark-infested Strait of Gibraltar in 1988.
"These kids have been practising very hard. They swim six hours a week and have been on a very strict diet to maintain their weight," said Pradhan.
"The hardest thing about crossing the channel is the variation in temperatures. The water can be biting cold in some areas and warm in others. So, these children are making a brave attempt," she added.
The young swimmers are getting financial assistance from Air India and logistical support from the Channel Swimming Association.
The CSA had been supervising their daily practice sessions in the sea but the swimmers could not hire a local coach for better acclimatisation due to lack of funds. "But we have made up for that by practising regularly," said Pradhan.
Confident of success, the four are also planning to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar next month.