Google on Thursday remembered Indian swimmer Arati Saha who became the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel on her 80th birth anniversary. The Google Doodle on the home page shows an animated version of Saha swimming across the stretch.
In 1959, Saha registered her name as the first woman from Asia to swim across the English Channel. She covered a distance of 67.5 km in 16 hours and 20 minutes. Upon reaching the English side of the Channel, she hoisted the Indian flag. This was her second attempt. Thereafter, she became the first woman to be awarded the Padma Shri.
Saha started swimming at an early age of four. She won her first swimming gold medal when she was only five. She learned to swim on the banks of the Hooghly river, and her dexterity in the water earned her the mentorship of one of India’s top competitive swimmers, Sachin Nag.
She went on to represent India at the 1952 Summer Olympics.
In 1999, the Indian postal department celebrated her conquest by bringing out a postage stamp of Rs 3 denomination.