Source The Hndu 19 Mar 2008
Belgaum: Two physically challenged swimmers from Belgaum are striving to join the ranks of those who have conquered the English Channel.
Rajesh Shinde (21) and Raghavendra Anvekar (22) are all set to swim across the English Channel from England to France on July 25.
The Channel Swimming Association has given its approval for the swimmers who are preparing for the feat, according to Umesh Kalghatagi, event coordinator, here on Tuesday.
He told The Hindu that physical limitations had never come in the way of Mr. Shinde and Mr. Anvekar in accomplishing their dream tasks. Both of them are members of the Aquarius Swim Club of Belgaum. They started their preparations for this task over two years ago to build endurance and grip over long-distance swimming, he said.
They have swum more than 1,000 miles till today as part of their preparation. They were swimming for six hours to 10 hours at different times of the day, he said. They were also having early morning and overnight training sessions, Mr. Kalghatagi said.
As part of the preparation, they will swim for 10 hours from 8 p.m. at the Rotary Corporation Swimming Pool in Belgaum city on Wednesday.
While crossing the English Channel they will face challenges such as extreme and frequently changing weather conditions, low water temperature (not exceeding 15 degrees Celsius) and swimming with and against the tides in salty water, he said. The swimmers would not be allowed to touch either the pilot boat or any person on the boat. Violating this rule would result in their disqualification, he added.
Mr. Anvekar has participated in several national and international competitions. He has won one gold medal, five silver medals and seven bronze medals in tournaments held in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. He has also won 27 gold medals in various national-level tournaments.
Mr. Shinde has bagged four gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal at the competitions held in Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He has won 27 gold medals in national-level tournaments.