Google doodle honours Arati Saha, the Indian swimmer who crossed English Channel in 1959
Google honoured Arati Saha, the Indian swimmer who became the 1st Asian woman to cross English Channel in 1959, with a doodle as she turned 80 today.
New Delhi: Google on Thursday celebrated the 80th birthday of swimmer Arati Saha with a doodle. The search engine giant dedicated its doodle to the swimmer on the occasion of her 80th birth anniversary.
Arati Saha was the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel on September 29, 1959. She covered the distance of 67.5km in 16.20 hours from Cape Gris Nez, France to Sandgate, England. Following this, she became the first Indian sportsperson to be awarded the Padma Shri.
The colourful doodle on Google’s homepage features an animated picture of Arati Saha, in swimming pose.
Google, in a blog post said, “her precocious skill in the water soon attracted the mentorship of one of India’s top competitive swimmers, Sachin Nag.”
“A record-setting prodigy by just 11 years old, Saha became the youngest member (and one of only four women) on the first team to represent the newly independent India in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland,” it added in the blog post.
Born in Kolkata, Arati was introduced to swimming at the age of 4, on the banks of the Hooghly River. Being a prodigy swimmer. In 1952 Summer Olympics, she represented India as one of the four participants and was the youngest member of the Indian contingent.
At the age of 18, she made her first attempt to cross the English Channel but had to abort due to strong currents from opposite side. A month later, she conquered the sea.
After achieving this feat, she told the press that she was inspired by Brojen Das, a Bangladeshi-Asian swimmer who had crossed the English Channel years ago.
The other Indian athletes to swim across the English Channel are Mihir Sen in 1958 and Ashwin Krishnasamy in 2007.