BELGAUM: At just 13, Belgaum boy Aditya Shailesh Prabhu stunned spectators by swimming 81 km non-stop in the Bhagirathi river at the 71st Open Water Long-distance Swimming Competition (OWLDSC) held in Jangipur, West Bengal, recently.
He was the youngest of the participants, drawn from various parts of the country.
Aditya had to swim from Ahiron Ghat in Jangipur to Gora Bazar Ghat, which he completed in 12 hours, 29 minutes and 43 seconds. Of the 25 participants, only 12 could complete the stretch and Aditya came 8th.
He told Express that the competition was a “dream come true.” He recalled participating in the 19-km OWLDSC last year, where he had witnessed the 81-km challenge. “From then onwards, I started preparing,” he said. Aditya is a student of KLS English Medium School in Belgaum.
His mother Seema Prabhu said the strong will of her son was the reason he was able to participate. All year, Aditya maintained a strict diet and exercised under the guidance of retired Subedar Maruti Ghadi, a national-level wrestler. Aditya’s father Shailesh Prabhu said his son needed more time to practise and so he had approached the school authorities. The school staff responded positively. Three months before the competition, Aditya started practising eight hours a day. Once in 15 days, he pushed himself to swim 12 hours. He was in the pool from early morning to afternoon.
Aditya now dreams of swimming the English Channel next year.