Mumbai's 12-yo girl on the autism spectrum swam 36-km in the Arabian Sea to create awareness about ASD
Daughter of an Indian Navy Sailor, Jiya Rai, created a world record on 17th February, by swimming 36-km in the Arabian Sea, covering the distance between the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the Gateway of India. The motivation behind her exemplary achievement is to create awareness about the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With her courage and determination, she has shown that her condition is not a limitation, rather a challenge to grow more.
Creating a world record and shattering glass ceilings
Jiya Rai has yet again proved that a child with autism can do everything a "normal" child can and more! She began swimming at 3:40 AM on Wednesday, covering the 36-km long distance between Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the Gateway of India by 12:30 PM As she reached her destination, she was greeted by the audience with cheers and thunderous claps.
For this world record worthy feat, Jiya was awarded a trophy by the President of Greater Mumbai Amateur Aquatic Association (GMAAA)- Mr. Zaril Baliwala at a function near the Gateway of India. This event was conducted under the supervision of the Swimming Association of Maharashtra and associated with the FIT India movement of the Union Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs.
This is not the first time when Jiya has completed a herculean and treacherous swim. Last year in February, she swam from the Gateway of India to Elephanta Island, a distance of 14 km in 3 hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds. With this, Jiya further created a world record for being the youngest girl with ASD to swim such a distance in the open sea.
Turning weaknesses into strengths
Jiya Rai was only 2 years old when she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the past 10 years, she has come a long way by turning her weaknesses into strengths. Jiya has taken up a noble cause to show by example that being a special child is only about special needs and not about any limitations.