Kolkata: Twenty-two-year-old city girl
Amrita Das crossed the English Channel, completing the 34-km
challenge in 13 hours and 42 minutes.
An understudy of Masudur Rahman Baidya, the first double
amputee below the knee to cross the channel, Amrita began at
6.19 am (GMT) from the Shakespeare beach in Dover, England and
swam across the channel, reaching France at 8.01 pm (GMT) on
She could have bettered the timing if Amrita did not veer
off course due to strong currents, Baidya said.
"There were high tidal waves that blew her off-course and
she had to remain static for about an hour before resuming
swimming," Baidya, who has conquered the English Channel
(1997) and the Strait of Gibraltar (2001), told reporters.
Baidya said Amrita had started started her preparation
long ago. "She trained in Puri sea and swam there for hours in
the waves in the preparations of English Channel. Here in the
city, she trained in the College Square pool," Baidya said.
A graduate from Raja Rammohan College, Amrita was
accompanied by father Ashoke Kumar during the mission.
The swimmer, a resident of Amherst Street in north
Kolkata, has also earned the distinction of finishing fourth
in 81-km Murshidabad swimming competition in the Bhagirathi
river in 2007.
Mirhir Sen of India was first Asian to cross the channel
in 1958 and Bula Chowdhury was first girl in the world to have
made it twice in the 80s and 90s.