“It was chilling cold water at Antarctic Ocean and I could see small and big ice-bergs moving. The ocean was not clear. This was making the passage for my swimming difficult and challenging. At this juncture the ship helped in moving the small and medium ice-bergs and my passage was some-what clear. Second was to ensure that there are no ‘Leopard Seals’, a large fish that can eat whales. My distance was set to be travelled towards the ship. Before entering the water, I thought of my country and I realized this is the day I can make my country India proud”, said Bhakti Sharma who has just returned to India after setting world record in open-water swimming.
Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group company in zinc-lead-silver business in Rajasthan had supported and sponsored Bhakti Sharma for this venture. “I had lost all hopes and that is where Hindustan Zinc came forward and instantly agreed to support me. Had I not received this support, I would have never been able to achieve this success’, said Bhakti Sharma.
Bhakti travelled 1.4 miles in 1 degree temperature in Antarctic Ocean on 10th January 2015. She is the first women of India to achieve this feat, beating the record of British open water swimming champion Lewis Pugh and American swimmer Lynne Cox. She is now the youngest citizen of the world and the first Asian girl to have achieved this success. Bhakti Sharma has now conquered all the 5 oceans of the world and she has broken this record after 12 years.
“The crew members on the ship found it difficult to believe an Indian coming to attempt such a feat as the Indian climate is extremely different from those conditions. We do not have such chilling cold in India and thus our bodies are not tuned to handle such cold water”, said Bhakti.
On what next Bhakti said, she would now work for the malnourished children and towards women empowerment in Rajasthan and would be joining Vedanta’s Hindustan Zinc campaign “Khushi” and “Sakhi”. Campaign “Khushi” is a non-funding campaign by the company that is spreading message towards care for the underprivileged children in India, for their nutrition, health and education. Campaign “Sakhi” is towards socio-economic empowerment of rural women. “I have spoken with Mr. Akhilesh Joshi, CEO of Hindustan Zinc about my interest and he has readily agreed’, said Bhakti.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Akhilesh Joshi, CEO Hindustan Zinc said, ‘Bhakti Sharma achievement is a landmark success for India, we all are very proud. Her achievement only proves that Indian girls can do marvels if given the right opportunities and support. Hindustan Zinc is a Rajasthan based company and Bhakti Sharma is from Rajasthan too. In the past also we have supported Rajasthan sports talents and we would continue to do so.”
President and Prime Minister too lauded open water swimmer Bhakti for her accomplishment of setting this world record.