Google dedicates doodle to Arati Saha on her 80th birth anniversary
Sep 24, 2020
NEW DELHI: Google on Thursday remembered the iconic Indian swimmer, Arati Saha, by dedicating its doodle to the swimmer on the occasion of her 80th birth anniversary.
Arati Saha was the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel on September 29, 1959. A distance of 67.5km was covered by Saha in 16 hours and 20 minutes from Cape Gris Nez, France to Sandgate, England. Following her success in 1960, she became the first Indian sportsperson to be awarded the Padma Shri.
The colourful doodle on Google's homepage features an animated picture of Arati Saha, swimming, in between of the second letter 'O' in the word 'Google', along with the picture of the English Channel in the background of the doodle.
Born in Kolkata, Arati was introduced to swimming at the age of 4, on the banks of the Hooghly River. Sachin Nag recognised her talent and trained her under his mentorship. Saha received her first gold medal at the age of five.
Being a prodigy swimmer, in 1951, she clocked 1 minute 37.6 seconds in 100 meters breast-stroke and broke Dolly Nazir's all-India record and in 1952. She represented India in the 1952 Summer Olympics as one of the four participants and youngest member of the Indian contingent.
At later stages of her life, Brojen Das, a Bangladeshi-Asian swimmer who had crossed the English Channel, became her inspiration.
At the age of 18, she made her first attempt to cross the English Channel but had to abort it as she faced strong current from the opposite side. After one failed attempt, she conquered the sea, a month later.
The other Indian athletes to swim across the English Channel were Mihir Sen in 1958 and Ashwin Krishnasamy in 2007.