A record 581 swimmers from all over India have registered for the Goa Swimathon 2019 event organised by the Panaji based Enduro Sports Goa.
The annual event which is in its ninth edition will be held at the Bambolim Beach on March 23 and 24.
Mumbai swimmers lead the challenge with as many as 177 swimmers from the megapolis taking part in the event, followed by Bengaluru with 140 swimmers and Pune with 54 swimmers. There are 30 swimmers from the host state of Goa taking part.
Among these is lecturer at V M Salgaocar College of Law, Aamod Shirali who will be participating in the 2 and 10 km race in his age category. Shirali has been participating in the event since 2016. “In 2016 I took part in the 2 kilometres category, in 2017 in the 5 kilometres category, and 10 kilometres in 2018. This year, I will be repeating the same challenge,” he says
And he is excited about the number of participants going up this year. “It’s overwhelming to know that I will be participating alongside people from India and abroad who’ve been professional swimmers, Iron Man, Half Iron Man and more. I want to compete with myself, learn from others and am hoping to better my timing as anything less than 4 and half hours is good for me,” he says.
Being a self taught swimmer, he has been guided by members from the Goa Open Swimming Club and is proud of being an amateur swimmer. “Since this is a high endurance event that requires one to be physically and mentally fit, I have been preparing for this event for the last eight months,” says Shirali.
Master of ceremonies Jeffrey Manuel from Goa will also be competing in the 2 kilometres open category. “I am totally looking forward to it. Swimming 100 metres a few months ago seemed like an impossibility. I am challenging myself to a 2 kilometres finish and am excited,” he says.
March 23 will see the swimmers taking part in the 5 kilometres and 10 kilometres races, while March 24 will see the swimmers take part in the 250 metres, 1kilometre and 2 kilometres races. 23 per cent of the participants are female.
Nishika Sangani (8) of Mumbai will be the youngest participant in the races, while Kety Patel (71) of Pune is the oldest female participant and BR Gopal Rao (72) of Bengaluru is the oldest male participant.
Adding a deeper dimension to the event is the presence of several physically challenged swimmers, which include Vijaykumar Kasivel (35) from Bengaluru, Abdul Rahman SM (13) from Tirunelveli and Vivek Shirali (66) from Panaji among others.