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5-year-old crosses tank both ways

- Kashmiri achieves feat in 1 hr 17 mins; felicitated by Bhogeswar Baruah

Sivasagar, Aug. 31: Kashmiri Chowdhury today became the first swimmer aged below six to cross the historic Joysagar tank both ways.

She crossed the breadth of the tank both ways in one hour and 17 minutes. Joysagar tank, built in 1696 by Ahom king Rudra Singha in memory of his mother Joymoti, is 900 metres in breadth and 1,100 metres long.

Kashmiri completed the attempt at the age of five years, five months and five days. She started the attempt this sunny afternoon amid the cheering of hundreds of people, who had gathered there to witness the rare feat. Among the distinguished people who had gathered there were Asian Games gold medallist Bhogeswar Baruah, former Mr India Bijit Gogoi and representatives of several organisations.

A team of doctors and medical professional did a medical check-up of the girl before she was allowed to make the attempt. A ritual was also conducted before she took her plunge into the tank.

Two boats equipped with safety gear sailed along with the swimmer. Her coaches Jatin Gogoi and Sanjeeb Neog led both the boats. Arjuna awardee Bhogeswar Baruah was among those who escorted her all through the trip.

As she neared the end point, crowds started to cheer the little girl. After crossing the mark, Baruah held her up in his arms and brought her to the victory podium.

A tired Kashmiri could not utter a word, but her mother Monika Chowdhury said she felt proud on the achievement of her daughter. Thanking everyone for their support, she said, “Kashmiri had been working very hard for the past two years to complete the attempt and I am really happy that she has fulfilled her dream.” The organisers of today’s attempt, Rongpur Water Sports Association, awarded Kashmiri a trophy and a citation.

Likhak Chandra Bora, president of the association, said Kashmiri has shown immense courage and mental strength by completing the attempt. “The Joysagar tank is so huge that even adult swimmers fear to take a plunge here. The attempt by the girl is truly praiseworthy,” he said.

Prior to Kashmiri, several attempts have been made to cross the tank, but this is the first attempt by anyone aged below six to cross the tank both ways.

Uddip Archit Bhuyan, a two-and-a-half-year old boy from Guwahati had crossed the tank (one way) in 2006. Sivangi Sharma of Sivasagar had crossed the tank (one length) in 2007 at an age of four years and five months.

Bhogeswar Baruah was also felicitated on the occasion. The veteran sportsman, who won the gold medal in the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games, hails from Sivasagar. Baruah’s birthday is celebrated throughout the state as Abhiruchi Sports Day on September 3.


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