Mumbai teenager swims from Thalaimannar to Dhanushkodi

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In a bid to create awareness on autism, 13-year-old Jiya Rai from Mumbai swam from Sri Lanka’s Thalaimannar to Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu.

Indian media reports she took 13 hours and five minutes to complete her expedition.

Jiya was received by a large gathering at the Indian shore led by Tamil Nadu Director General of Police C. Sylendra Babu.

Babu told reporters that Ms. Jiya Rai, daughter of Madan Rai of the Indian Navy, had brought laurels to the country by swimming from Sri Lanka to Indian waters.

Explaining that while many enthusiasts even scaled the Mt Everest, only a few had taken swimming as an expedition.

He conveyed his wishes to the swimmer as open water swimming was a big achievement.

After obtaining Immigration clearance from the authorities, the swimmer, accompanied by her parents, coach and observers, started her expedition at 4.15 a.m. and reached the destination at 5.20 p.m.

The Indian Prime Minister in his ’Mann ki Baat’ radio programme had also made a special mention about the swimmer’s feat.

She has joined the select band of swimmers, including Kutraleeswaran (1994), R Jai Jaswanth (2019), Edi Hu of the USA (2020), Shyamala Koli of Telangana (2021) among others, who swam from Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi.

Jiya had taken up the swimming expedition to create awareness about autism.

Hailing from Mumbai, Jiya has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but that didn’t stop her from achieving several feats in swimming.