Hyderabad: Swimmer Goli Shyamala has become the first Telugu woman to swim across the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka.
The 30-kilometers long Palk Strait was covered within 13 hours and 43 minutes of swimming by Goli Shyamala. Shyamala left the Sri Lankan coast at 4.15 am on Friday and reached Dhanushkoti in Rameshwaram at 5.58 pm.
A Hyderabad-based entrepreneur, Shyamala, apart from being coached by Ayush Yadav, was initially trained and guided for the event by a senior IPS officer Rajiv Trivedi. It is learned that in 2012, senior IPS officer Rajiv Trivedi swam the Palk Strait in 12 hours and 30 minutes. He was the one who taught the techniques of swimming and gave better training.
Shyamala is the second woman in the world to swim the Strait of Palk. She is also the thirteenth swimmer in the world to have accomplished the challenging feat.
From Animator to Swimmer
Shyamala is from a middle-class farming family who belongs to Samarthakotta in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Venkataraju (Shyamala's father) was once a weightlifter himself. However, he wanted to keep his kids away from sports even though he was in the same field. Then Shyamala's sisters decided to do IAS instead.
Shyamala, who was not so interested in education, decided to become an animator by focusing on painting instead.
Shyamala made an animated series on a kid’s channel. She also made an animated film titled ‘Little Dragon.’ However, due to financial problems, the movie could not be released. With this, the animation part of her career was paused.
Shyamala then decided to learn to swim at the age of 44 and embarked on another path of career. She has participated in many events and won many medals at the state, national and international levels. And with her latest achievement of Palk Strait that was successfully crossed, a new record was set.
Shyamala trained at the Sports Authority of Telangana State swimming pool at Gachibowli for her latest swimming challenge. According to an interview she gave before heading to Lanka, her day started at 3 am when she would prepare breakfast for the whole family and then travel. She traveled around 17 km to the Gachibowli swimming pool, where she would practice swimming for three hours.
Shyamala, who took up swimming just a few years ago, had previously made her mark in the National Open Water Ganga River Swimming Competition, completing 13 km in one hour and 50 minutes.
She also previously represented Telangana in the World Masters Championship in Gwanju, South Korea, organized by the Fédération Internationale De Natation (FINA) — the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for holding international water sports competitions.
Shyamala’s achievement will be recorded as a true story of grit and determination, with her training schedule itself being an inspiring narrative.