Arati Saha also became the first-ever female recipient of Padma Shri award in 1960.New Delhi:
Google today celebrates the 80th birthday of Arati Saha, an Indian long distance swimmer. She was born in 1940 in Kolkata on September 24.
Arati Saha became the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel-a feat considered the swimming equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. She covered a breathtaking 42 miles from Cape Gris Nez, France to Sandgate, England- the route depicted in today's doodle.
Ms Saha won her first swimming gold medal when she was only five. She learned to swim on the banks of the Hooghly River, and her precocious skill in the water soon attracted the mentorship of one of India's top competitive swimmers, Sachin Nag.
At 11 years old, Ms Saha became the youngest member on the first team to represent the newly independent India in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. At the age of 18, Ms Saha made her first attempt to cross the English Channel, and though it was unsuccessful, she never gave up. Just over a month later, she conquered miles of churning waves and currents to complete the journey, a historic victory for women across India.
Ms Saha also became the first-ever female recipient of Padma Shri award in 1960.
Google today celebrated Ms Saha birthday for her contribution to inspire women across the world.