Guwahati: Former international swimmer from Assam, Elvis Ali Hazarika, became the first person from Assam and Northeast India to successfully swim across the Catalina Channel in the United States on Wednesday.
In achieving the new milestone, Hazarika made his start from the United States, swum for nearly 80 km in a span of 10 hours and 59 minutes to reach his ending point in Mexico. Hazarika was accompanied by swimmer Rimo Saha of West Bengal who swum along with him for nearly four hours along the journey. The total expenditure of the entire journey is estimated to be around Rs 6-7 lakh.
Hazarika crossed the Catalina Channel amidst high risk as the water body is home to a variety of deadly marine creatures, including sharks. The Catalina Channel (originally San Pedro Channel), which separates Santa Catalina Island from the Southern California mainland, is considered to be one of the most historically significant and consistently popular marathon swims in the world.
Counting the feat more than an achievement, Hazarika dedicated his swim in memory of the two youths from state, Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das, who were lynched by a mob in Panjuri village of Dokmoka in Karbi Anglong district almost a year ago in June.
Achieving milestones one after another, the ace swimmer was also the first Assamese to swim across 29 km of the 33 km-long English Channel last year.
Earlier, Hazarika also grabbed as many as 68 national and six international gold medals in different swimming events. He also represented India, at a tender age of nine years, at the Asia Pacific Swimming Championship in 1991.