It is a pleasure to watch 35-year-old Prakash Nadar dive into the sea and effortlessly break through every wave. And once out, onlookers are amazed seeing him holding on to his crutches.
Nadar doesn’t allow his polio-ridden legs come in way of his passion. Earlier this month, Nadar swam 42km from Gateway of India to Revas Island and back in 17 hours and 30 minutes. Officials from the Limca Book of Records, 2013, are considering him for their ‘Longest distance swum in open sea by a physically-challenged person’ category.
“I was disabled after I suffered a polio attack when I was barely one-and-a-half-years. Though walking has always been an uphill task for me, I loved water since childhood. When I was a kid, during high tide me and my friends would jump from the flyover into the Worli gutter when the gates closed and water levels rose. It is here where I learned to swim,” said Nadar, a resident of Madraswadi in Motilal Nehru Nagar, Worli.
“A few years ago, four friends and I jumped into the sea from Worli village and swam quite a distance. The water there was sparklingly green and transparent. After a while, we panicked as we had come very far from the shore. Somehow, we managed to swim to Haji Ali durgah,” he said. Nadar weighs around 100kg but this is hardly a deterrent.
During his latest quest, Nadar was not pleased with the filth along the stretch. He said, “Mounds of plastic bottles and empty packets of chips were floating along the way. I sustained numerous bites from prawns while swimming too.”
Before venturing out in the open sea, Nadar trained under two coaches at the police gymkhana pool in Worli for four months.
“The training included six hours of non stop swimming during the day. He was fed liquids and light food in water so he would get used to the real challenge in the open sea,” said Shekhar Surve, Nadar’s coach. Surve and Nadar have earlier swum distances of 5km and 10km in the open sea.