Mumbai Autistic Girl Swims From Sri Lanka To Tamil Nadu In 13 Hours, Sets New World Record

Image Credits: The New Indian Express

The Logical Indian Crew

Mumbai Autistic Girl Swims From Sri Lanka To Tamil Nadu In 13 Hours, Sets New World Record

Jiya Rai (13) became the youngest and fastest female swimmer worldwide to swim across the Palk Strait from Sri Lanka’s Talaimannar to Dhanuskodi in Tamil Nadu, covering a distance of 29 km in 13 hours and 10 minutes.

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A 13-year-old girl from Mumbai suffering from Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) set a new record on Sunday, March 20, by swimming across the Palk Strait from Sri Lanka's Talaimannar to Dhanuskodi in Tamil Nadu, covering a distance of 29 km in 13 hours and 10 minutes.

By achieving the feat, Jiya Rai became the youngest and fastest female swimmer worldwide to swim across the Palk Strait. Bhula Chowdhary held the previous record by covering the distance in 13 hours and 52 minutes in 2004. On Sunday, the swimming started at 4.22 am from Talaimanar and concluded at Dhanushkodi at 5.32 pm. The event was conducted and guided by the Para-Swimming Federation of India (PSFI).

Jiya was just two years old when she was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. A few months later, her doctor noticed that her repetitive knocking could be purposely applied in water sports as therapy. This worked wonders as she seemed comfortable and developed a passion for swimming, The New Indian Express reported.

The Sri Lankan Navy provided the search and rescue (SAR) cover to Jiya while swimming in Lankan waters while the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard ensured her safety in Indian water. Goa Shipyard Ltd provided financial support for this event.

Previous Records

Earlier, the teenager had received the "Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Purashkar (PMRBP) - 2022, the highest honour given to citizens below 18 years. She is the first and the youngest autistic girl to Swim from Worli sea link to Gateway of India, covering a distance of 36 km in February 2021.

Jiya is the world record holder in open water swimming. She is on a mission to become the first and youngest para swimmer to swim seven oceans. Last year, Jiya became the youngest (12 years) and first girl with an autistic spectrum disorder to swim 36 km in 8 hours and 40 minutes from the Worli sea link to Gateway of India.

In January 2021, Jiya became the first para swimmer to swim from Arnala Fort to Vasai Fort, covering a distance of 22 km in 7 hours and 4 minutes. In February 2020, she became the first autistic spectrum disorder girl in the world to swim 14 km in 3 hours and 27 minutes from Elephanta Island to Gateway of India.

Her name has been recorded in Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records. In March 2021, Jiya won three Gold Medals in the Twentieth National para-swimming Championship-2020. She has bagged 24 Gold Medals and one Silver Medal in the National and State Swimming/Open Water Sea Swimming Championship.

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Writer : Tashafi Nazir
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Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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Creatives : Tashafi Nazir