International medallist, Elvis Ali Hazarika has made Assam proud by becoming the first-ever swimmer from the state to cross the Catalina Channel in the United States of America (USA) on 15th August 2019.
He took to Facebook to announce the feat and expressed his happiness. Hazarika shared that after putting a “lot of efforts and hours of pushing himself to work harder”, he successfully crossed the Catalina Channel.
It may be mentioned here, Hzaraika had announced on April 27th, 2019 that he will dedicate his attempt to cross the Catalina Channel to Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das – the two Guwahati boys who were lynched to death in 2018 in Panjuri village of Dokmoka in the Karbi Anglong.
Hazarika also wrote that his Relay Team had to go through a lot of challenges, especially, dolphins, whales and sunfish which were “accompanying them all the way”. He thanked all his friends, family and his brother Rimo Saha, who also swam the Channel along with him for achieving the feat. He swam for a total of 11 hours to reach the endpoint which is Rancho Palos Verdes.
“Also, our Relay Team has become the first Indian team to clock a time of 10hrs 59mins to cross the channel. A dream come true, and proud moment for all Indians,” Hazarika wrote on Facebook.
Notably, he has won as many as 68 national and six international gold medals. At the age of 9, Elvis represented the nation in the Asia Pacific Swimming Championship in the year 1991. Hazarika represented India in South Asian Federation Games in 1995 and 1999 and the World Police Games in 2009. He also represented Assam in the All-India-Pacific National Aquatic Games, Sub-Junior, Junior and Senior Aquatic National Championship and National Games.
The Catalina Channel (technically San Pedro Channel) separates Santa Catalina Island from the Southern California mainland. The minimum distance across the channel is 19.6 statute miles (31.6 km), between Arrow Point on the island and Long Point, Rancho Palos Verdes.
The Catalina Channel is one of the most historically significant and consistently popular marathon swims in the world and was first swum solo by George Young in January 1927.
Guwahati | First Published: Aug 16, 2019