Indian teenage swimming sensation Prabhat Koli, who is on a mission to ace the - Oceans Seven – one of the world’s most dangerous swimming challenges – has reached New Zealand to conquer the last remaining leg of swimming across the Cooks Strait.
The Oceans Seven is a marathon swimming challenge consisting of seven open water channel swims that includes the North Channel, the Moloka?i Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Cook Strait.
Prabhat announced his arrival to the Land of White Clouds on his twitter handle in perfect style, posting photographs of his first training in Wellington beaches along with few local swimmers.
“Reached New Zealand! Started my preparation for the last swim of the Ocean 7 Challenge Open Water Swim by training in beautiful waters of Wellington with few local swimmers. Loved the surroundings, climate and temperature!,” Prabhat announced on twitter.
As one of the toughest and most challenging stretches of water in the world, Cook Strait presents the ultimate of tests for all swimmers.
Notably, while Cook Straits presents itself as one of the most formidable swimming challenge conquered roughly by only about 126 swimmers in the last fifty odd years, the Ocean-Seven challenge is indeed a challenge at a completely different level – only to be conquered by 10 swimmers around the world since it began in 2008.
The Oceans Seven was devised in 2008 as the swimming equivalent of the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge.
Prabhat has set his eye upon this mammoth task in 2015 and since then have completed six intriguing swimming challenges in some of the roughest seas around the world, in between making and breaking many records.
He became youngest and fastest Asian to cross 42-km swim across Molokai Channel in 17.22 hours.
Earlier he also became the first Asian swimmer to successfully swim in cold water from Jersey (an island in the UK) to France – a distance of 25 kilometres.
Prabhat comes from a fishing community of Trombay Koliwada, where he has routinely seen his father Raju venturing out in the open seas, and has inherited from him the desire to conquer the open sea swimming challenge.
In 2018 Prabhat Raju Koli was conferred with the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award by President Ram Nath Kovind.
All eyes will be set on Prabhat as he will soon embark on conquering Cook Straits – a feat achieved by only four Indians so far.
A website cookstraitsswim.org.nz that keeps a roll of all swimmers who have successfully swum across the Cook Straits reports three other Indians – Bula Chukraboty Chowdhury (2003), Rupali Ramdas (1998) and Taranath Shenoy (1996), Aditya Raut (2005).
The Indian Weekender extends best wishes to Prabhat on behalf of the entire Kiwi-Indian community in New Zealand and wishes him good luck to conquer this formidable challenge and achieve his long-cherished dream.