Courtesy of WOWSA, River Bhagirathi, India.

21 swimmers started at 5 am and 10 swimmers finished the 81 km India National Open Water Swimming Competition down The Ganges. At 50.3 miles, it is one of the world’s longest races that celebrated its 75th edition this year.

Two-time defending champion Jose Luis Larrossa Chorro of Spain could not hold on to his title this year when West Bengal’s 17-year-old Apurba Saha fnishing 14 minutes ahead of him [shown above in yellow cap]. Finishers came from India, Spain, Bangladesh, and Argentina.

The Murshidabad Swimming Association has sponsored and hosted the event since 1943. It was started by a local freedom fighter Sailen Adhikary, popularly known as Lala da. “Lala da was a freedom fighter. He thought our youth needed to remain fit to fight with the Britishers.

Swimming was the best way to keep them fit, So, he started the swimming competition to encourage the youth of the area,” said Debendranath Das, secretary of the Murshidabad Swimming Association.

In 1943, the event was 74 km in distance, but in 1987, the distance was increased to 81 km, starting from the remote town of Ahiron and ending at Gorabazar in Berhampore.

81 km Results:
1. Apurba Saha (West Bengal) 10 hours 48 minutes 46 seconds

2. Jose Luis Larrossa Chorro (Spain) 11 hours 2 minutes 56 seconds

3. Biswanath Adhikary (West Bengal) 11 hours 5 minutes 41 seconds

4. Chiranjit Biswas (West Bengal) 11 hours 19 minutes 38 seconds

5. Md. Ashikul Rahaman (Bangladesh) 11 hours 33 minutes 1 second

6. Shivam Bhojraj Jethudi (Gujrat) 11 hours 35 minutes 38 seconds

7. Aniket Jayeshbahai Patel (Gujrat) 11 hours 38 minutes 43 seconds

8. Apu Sarkar (West Bengal) 11 hours 47 minutes 46 seconds

9. Shubham Yuvraj Pawar (Maharastra) 11 hours 58 minutes 2 seconds

10. Maria Angeles de Simon (Argentina) 12 hours 1 minutes 7 seconds

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