Known as the ‘Jalpari’ from Rajasthan, Open Water Swimmer – Bhakti Sharma needs no formal introduction. Born in City of Lakes – Udaipur, she has made her name with her determination, achievements and constant struggle to promote the sport of swimming.
Recently, Bhakti signed an MoU with Hindustan Zinc Ltd. where the organization will be backing her up financially for her upcoming attempt to create a world record by swimming in Antartica this week.
We at UdaipurTimes.com asked Bhakti to answer few questions, so that we can know more about her career, goals and moments of up-n-downs in her life as a recognized swimmer.
Q. When did you start learning to swim? When did you realize that this is what you want to do? I started to swim when I was 2.5 years old. My mother taught me the sport. Gradually, as I started participating in District and State Level competitions, I moved forward in this field.
Q. How was your mother as a mentor? What is her best quality as the teacher? She is a very good teacher; necessarily strict and encouraging. Her best quality is the – ‘Never say Never’ attitude.
Q. What was your first accomplishment as an Open Water Swimmer? My first open water (Sea) swim was from Uran port to Gateway of India in the year 2003 which was 16 km.
Q. What were the difficulties you faced in your passion for sport? Apart from the lack in official training for open water swimming, getting financial backing was a major problem. Also, arranging the swims in new and different countries is tough without these factors.
Q. Who is your idol and why? I believe in learning from one and all. Hence, I don’t have a specific idol I look upon to.
Q. To whom do you owe your success so far? My family and the almighty God.
Q. Can you brief us about your Antarctica project? I aim at setting a new world record for longest distance swim in Antarctica by swimming 2.5 km. It is the most difficult swim I will undertake due to the freezing water temperature and hostile environment of Antarctica.
Q. What would be the challenges you will have to face in the Antarctica Project? The 0-2 degrees water temperature, cold weather. Also, there is a great risk of hypothermia and heart attack.
Q. What are your significant achievements so far? I am the youngest swimmer to swim in 4 oceans so far. I have been awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award by the President for the achievements in water adventure.
Q. What changes would you ask the state government to implement to promote swimming? Well maintenance of the pools, all weather pools in cities like Udaipur and Jodhpur; recognizing the local talents from rural areas.
Q. As per your MoU with HZL, how will you train and bring 10 girls to pursue career in this sport? I plan to train 10 local girls from scratch and set targets for them as they progress. A year is a long enough time to train these girls and develop an interest in them for swimming (including open water swimming).
Q. What would be your next goal after the Antartica Project? I haven’t thought about it. This is a huge project and my entire focus is on it.
Q. What message would you like to give to people? Never stop dreaming and strive hard to realize them.
Bhakti Sharma has left for Antartica to set the world record this week. Our prayers and wishes are with her, for if she breaks the record, it would be an honor for our country and also to our city to have such a talent among us.
Bhakti also stated earlier that one of her main supporters in her career so far is her parents. She would have been someone different if she’d have not be backed by his parents to pursue this career. We ask everyone to push their child into the direction which they are passionate about, that will only bring marvels for their kids.
The recent MoU with HZL will also prove a good initiative for swimmers from the city as they will have chance to learn traits from an experienced mentor. We will update our readers with Bhakti’s progress in her Antartica project as soon as we get an update.
Watch this space for more.