Woman swims from Sri Lanka to India across Palk Strait
Posted on March 21st, 2021

Courtesy Adaderana

Woman swims from Sri Lanka to India across Palk Strait

A 47-year-old Hyderabad-based woman Shyamala Goli became the world’s second female to swim across the 30-mile long Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka on Friday.

She swam for 13 hours and 43 minutes from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Arichalmunai near Dhanushkodi in India.

Her swimming journey began a few years ago after she decided to overcome her aquaphobia. Mother of an engineering graduate son, Shyamala runs a play school in Hyderabad. After successfully completing the mission an elated Shyamala said that the experience was unforgettable for several reasons.

Sri Lankan water was calm and I could swim easily. The Indian water was choppy. The last five miles were really tough. That’s why it took 90 minutes extra time to cover the 30-mile sea which divides India and Sri Lanka”, Shyamala told News18 over a call.

Shyamala was all set to swim across the Palk Strait last year. A day before Sri Lanka declared a country-wide lockdown forcing her to postpone it to the next year. Namal Rajapaksa, currently the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka went out of his way to get me all necessary clearances from his government. He was supposed to flag off my expedition. He could not make it because of some other commitments. I thank him” she said. 

However, on Friday morning, Namal Rajapaksa tweeted wishing her success.

His tweet read, My best wishes to Ms. Syamala Goli as she sets off to conquer the Palk strait Woman swimming. This feat not only is an inspirational one for us all but symbolizes the strong & vibrant friendship between our nations that is not just limited to nations but our people as well!”

Talking about her inspiration, Shyamala stated that TRS leader Kalvakuntla Kavitha is her role model and said, Kavitha has encouraged me a lot. I am from a lower-middle-class background. She has helped me even financially to realise my dreams. I am always indebted to her.”

Shyamala was trained and guided for this sea-swimming event by senior IPS officer Rajiv Trivedi who has also swam the Palk Strait in the past. Considering that Syamala learnt swimming just four years back, her successful effort and the timing are creditable.

Indian Swimming Federation had sent an observer with her to verify and certify her swimming expedition. She was bowled over by the hospitality and the support extended by the Sri Lankan Navy and Coast guard.

Sri Lankan Navy and Coast guard personnel were awesome. They were too kind and generous”, she added.

Captain Vikas Sood, Naval Attache at the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka helped her in getting all approvals and he also flagged her expedition at the Thalaimannar.

She hopes her expedition will help India and Sri Lanka to bridge the gaps in their relationship, which has hit roadblocks in recent times.


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