Ace Assam swimmer Elvis Ali Hazarika first from NE India to cross North Channel
Elvis during his marathon swim across North Channel.

Guwahati: Former international swimmer from Assam, Elvis Ali Hazarika has achieved the feat of becoming the first from Northeast India and the oldest Indian to swim across the North Channel, a strait between north-eastern Northern Ireland and south-western Scotland.

Hailing from Guwahati, 40-year-old Elvis clocked a time of 14 hours and 38 minutes to accomplish what remains a dream for many swimmers.

According to the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association, the distance of the route recognised as a North Channel swim is 34.5 km (21.4 miles). It is known for fickle weather, rough seas, tough currents and an abundance of jellyfish.

As it is, over the past four years especially, the ace Assam swimmer has been pushing his limits, persevering and raising the bar from time to time to create significant records, also making Assam and the country proud.

“I have been waiting for this day for a long time. After a lot of effort and hours of pushing myself to work harder, every day, I successfully have become the first Assamese (Northeast) to cross the North Channel by swimming it in relay – Northern Ireland to Scotland,” the ace swimmer informed through social media.

“We had to go through a lot of challenges. Especially the huge jellyfish that were accompanying us all the way! We are the first Asian relay team to cross the North Channel and I am the first oldest swimmer from India to have crossed the North Channel to clock a time of 14 hours and 38 minutes,” he said, adding, “It’s a dream come true and a proud moment for all Indians and Assamese people.”

After crossing the North Channel on Tuesday, Elvis posed for photographs with the Indian Tricolour and a traditional Assamese gamosa with the words ‘Joi Aai Axom’ written on it.

Last year, Elvis achieved the feat of becoming the first Assamese to swim from Dharamtar Jetty to the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Four years ago, he swam 29 kilometres of the 34-km English Channel, again becoming the first Assamese to achieve the feat.

Again, in August 2019, he became the first Assamese swimmer to successfully cross the Catalina Channel. He embarked on his journey from the United States and swam across the Catalina Channel to reach Mexico after covering 80 km within 10 hours and 59 minutes.

But it’s not that records are new to him. Taking to swimming at the age of just two-and-a-half years, Elvis had crossed the 800-metre Dighalipukhuri here when he was four years old.

At five, he swam the length of Joysagar Lake in Sivasagar, also considered to be the largest man-made lake in India.

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