11-yr-old girl swims across Ganga, to cover 550 kms in 10 days
Shraddha Shukla, a Class IX student, dreams of representing India in swimming in the next Olympics. The Kanpur girl also wants to make people aware about the clean Ganga initiative. "She has already covered a distance of 150 kilometers and is on her way to Varanasi", said her father Lalit Shukla, himself a professional diver and Shraddha's coach since childhood.
"She has been trained since she was two", said Lalit, while talking to reporters here. "Born in 2005, she had managed to cover the distance between Kanpur and Allahabad in one week in the year 2014, at nine years of age," he said.
Shraddha embarked on her journey last evening, on the occasion of National Sports Day from Kanpur's Massacre Ghat. She is being followed by a team of eight divers, two shooters and doctors, on a steamer.
Talking of safety precautions, Lalit said that a fishing net is being used to keep her safe from suspected crocodiles in some areas, along with two shooters to tackle any dangerous situation. She will swim for seven hours in a day, he added.
Since she began swimming at an early age, she has no fear of water. Many people have come to her aid but we haven't recieved any help from the administration so far, he said.
"The whole journey is being video recorded and we will send this to the UP government and also the central government. We want this girl's talent to be acknowledged so that she gets a financial help to realise her Olympic dream.
"We will also make an appeal to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Prime Minister Narendra Modi", he said.